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Posted on May 9, 2016

Students from India working together on a laptop computer.

California University is one of six State System universities participating as a full partner in the Pennsylvania Global Education & Business Hub, an initiative begun nearly four years ago to help promote Pennsylvania colleges and universities to students from India.

Representatives of more than 20 public and private schools in Pennsylvania, along with the Ryan international Group of Institutions in Mumbai, India, signed an international partnership agreement recently in Harrisburg.

Founded in 1976, Ryan International has established more than 130 schools in India and the United Arab Emirates, and it now serves more than 270,000 students in grades K-12.

A pair of Pennsylvania Education Centers, in Mumbai and Bangalore, already have been established through the Penn Hub initiative to promote universities, including Cal U, to potential students. The centers are funded and staffed by partner institutions in India.

“India’s population is so large that universities there simply don’t have the capacity to enroll tens of thousands of young people who are seeking higher education,” explains Elizabeth “Bessy” Bennellick, Cal U’s director of International Programming.

“This partnership provides a clear pathway for students from the Ryan schools in India to further their education in the United States.”

Signing the partnership agreement is just the first step toward bringing students to Cal U. The program must introduce Pennsylvania’s universities to Indian teachers and guidance counselors, and work with individual students and their families to find a U.S. school that’s the right fit.

Penn Hub connection

Cal U has been a member of the Penn Hub group for two years, Bennellick said. The formal agreement recognizes that “we are committed to diversifying our student population and attracting students who otherwise might not know about our Pennsylvania schools.”

While the partnership was designed primarily as a recruitment tool for Pennsylvania colleges and universities, it also provides educational opportunities for students and faculty from participating schools.

These include faculty-led workshops in India, student and faculty exchanges, and lessons offered through virtual classrooms.

Cal U is participating in the initiative with sister institutions East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Millersville, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. More than a dozen private colleges and universities also are partnering in the effort.