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A Georgia Senate committee released a new report on the needs of the state’s 10 historically Black colleges and universities and shared recommendations to better support the institutions at a press conference at the state capitol on Thursday.

“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,” State Senator Sonya Halpern, chair of the State Senate’s Study Committee on Excellence, Innovation and Technology, said in a press release.

The report is based on testimony given by HBCU leaders and advocates and business leaders before the committee last summer and fall. It offers a series of suggestions to state lawmakers, including creating a bipartisan HBCU caucus with members of the State Senate and House and HBCU subcommittees in the higher education committees of both chambers. The report also recommends biennial reports by an independent party on state agencies’ support for HBCUs.

Raymond Pierce, president and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation, an organization that promotes education for Black and low-income families, praised the recommendations. The foundation was among the HBCU advocates that participated in an initial hearing of the committee in August.

“HBCUs play a vital role in Georgia and many southern states as centers of learning, community, and opportunity,” Pierce said in the release. “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.”