Chapter 7: California: A Vibrant and Integrated System

Los Angeles, April 2014: Bill Chang, Mike Davis, Janaki Mitra, and Emily Vasquez, friends in their high school dance club, are seniors and discussing their college plans. Thanks to the California Master Plan and additional excellent choices of colleges and universities in the state, they are all planning to pursue undergraduate education at an institution that matches their aspirations, interests, and preferences. They are going to a community college, state university, University of California, and a private college respectively—four distinct options available to California residents. 


Passed in 1960, California’s Master Plan guarantees universal access to higher education for every Californian. It was the first state in the United States to do so and this model has been replicated around the nation.


  • What is California’s Master Plan?

  • Why did rest of the states copy it?

  • What could states and union territories in India learn from California’s success story?


In Chapter 7, I address these and related questions. Close to 250,000 students are enrolled in the prestigious University of California system. Approximately, 450,000 students are in the California State University system, and over 2 million students are enrolled in the California Community Colleges. Each system is providing incredible value. Faculty members, students, and researchers are improving our understanding of the world and universe. They are extending the frontiers of knowledge in all fields. They are fueling an innovation and entrepreneurship engine and attracting funding from federal, state, and private resources.


Due in large measure to its higher education system, California is home to many industries and a thriving agriculture, entertainment, financial and business services, manufacturing, tourism, life sciences and health care, trade and high-technology centered economy. Read more in my book.


(Shail Kumar is the author of Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. To find out more about the author and the book, visit:

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