College counselors from eight countries visited Pierce College this week, as part of a program that school officials hope will bring more foreign students and extra revenues to the financially struggling institution.
Pierce was chosen as one of four host campuses nationwide for the Overseas Advisors Training Program, designed to educate college counselors about the state of higher education in the United States.
"People in other countries often think of community colleges as lesser institutions," said Helen Krahn, coordinator for Pierce's foreign student program. "But then they come here and realize schools like Pierce are good academically and are excellent steppingstones to the (University of California) system and other four-year schools."
Administrators at Pierce, which participated in the program for the first time this year, said hosting the program may help lure foreign students to their campus, Krahn said. Unlike local undergraduates, who pay $10 per unit, foreign students pay $133 per unit because the state does not provide funding for them.
During their weeklong stay, the college counselors from South Africa, Turkey, Bolivia, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Denmark and Spain also visited Cal State Northridge, Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, USC and UCLA, as well as the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International Corp., Malibu and Hollywood.