Georgia’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) could be transformed into even stronger centers of education and economic opportunity with the right state support, a state legislative study committee has found.
The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Excellence, Innovation, and Technology at HBCUs officially released its final report and detailed recommendations at a news conference at the state Capitol today.
Chaired by state Senator Sonya Halpern (D-Atlanta), the study committee developed the recommendations for state lawmakers to position HBCUs as stronger catalysts for diversifying the state’s workforce, driving more innovation and economic impact, and anchoring community and economic development around their campuses.
Among the key recommendations are the establishment of a bipartisan HBCU Caucus consisting of state senators and House members, plus permanent HBCU subcommittees within both chamber’s higher education committees, to provide a greater focus on the institutions.
“This is an opportunity for Georgia to become the nation’s leader in how states fully support HBCUs and maximize their economic and social impact for their graduates and surrounding communities,” Sen. Halpern said.
The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), a 155-year-old nonpartisan organization, presented a number of detailed recommendations at the study committee’s inaugural hearing last August on how the state could bolster support for HBCUs. Early in its history, SEF provided support for the development of many HBCUs in the South, including the institutions that became Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College.
“HBCUs play a vital role in Georgia and many southern states as centers of learning, community, and opportunity,” said Raymond Pierce, the SEF president and CEO. “These recommendations set a new, ambitious agenda for how the state of Georgia can help HBCUs thrive even more, benefiting students and communities across the state and setting an example for many other states to follow.”