April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 - The world is thirsty for higher education. International talent continues to seek access to colleges and universities in the United States and particularly in California, which boasts a pioneering higher education system with global brand- name appeal that is unmatched by any other state – indeed any other nation. Yet California, and the US in general, is an underperformer when compared to our economic rivals in terms of the percentage of international students we have enrolled in our higher education institutions, and particularly at the undergraduate level. These circumstances pose a tremendous opportunity.

In an article in the journal BOOM: A Journal of California published by UC Press, CSHE researchers John Aubrey Douglass, Richard Edelstein, and Cecile Hoareau revisit their analysis on how California should develop one or more “California Higher Education Hubs” to attract top international talent at the undergraduate level as part of a larger approach to expanding college and university enrollment capacity and programs. As the authors state, “California’s EdHub would voluntarily link a regional set of universities and colleges to help recruit, enroll, and provide support services, like housing, for talented international students. At first, it might include a set of five to ten institutions in a region offering degree programs in fields that have international demand, or possibly in a sequential mode between, say, a community college and a private, bachelor’s degree- granting college or a local Cal State campus. It would require a minimal investment by universities and colleges, along with some form of “joint- venture” capital from local governments and business sectors that would gain the most via the talent and business activity generated.”

One goal is to expand California’s capacity to enroll talent from throughout the world, in part to support California’s economy; but another equally important goal, state the authors, “is to help formulate a funding model that, as demonstrated in other parts of the world, generates new revenue to help subsidize and expand access to native Californians. Even with an improved economy and projections of a state budget surplus for the first time since the Great Recession, there are few indicators that California’s government will make any significant new investment in public higher education. We need revenue growth for California’s still cash-starved public higher education system.”

So the California EdHub idea is about the money, they note. “But it is also about solidifying California and metropolitan regions such as the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego as global talent magnets, further elevating the state as a global actor with both economic and, as we will discuss here, humanitarian benefits. And it is achievable.”

For access to the article, please visit the BOOM site:

Also available via JSTOR:

Information on Authors:

John Aubrey Douglass is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley, Richard Edelstein is a CSHE Research Associate and Cecile Hoareau is also a CSHE Research Associate and an Analyst at Rand Europe.


John Aubrey Douglass

Richard Edelstein