This article argues that California colleges and universities should make a concerted effort to work together to attract more foreign students by forming education hubs. The authors argue that such “EdHubs” can relieve the intense pressure on schools’ budgets by enrolling more higher-paying out-of-state students, while schools in the same geographic regions can share the burden of supporting such students, particularly with investment from local industry. The authors argue that schools that work together can increase their capacity to educate more students, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, thereby increasing opportunities not just for foreign students but Californians as well.
This essay discusses the major financial and organizational challenges facing California’s higher education system, and offers a possible pathway to reforms. Most critics and observers of California’s system remain focused on incremental and largely marginal improvements, transfixed by the state’s persistent financial problems and inability to engage in long-range planning for a population that is projected to grow from approximately 37 million to some 60 million by 2050. A number of studies indicate that California’s higher education system will not keep pace with labor needs in the state, let alone affording opportunities for socioeconomic mobility that once characterized California. California needs a “re-imagined” network of colleges and universities and a plan for “Smart Growth.”