With its current enrollment of undergraduates from Hawai’i at 20 percent, Pacific University recently entered a new agreement with Hawai’i Community Colleges to continue recruiting students from Hawai’i in new ways.

On Jan. 23, University President Lesley Hallick visited Kapi’olani Community College on the island of Waikīkī as well as the other six community college campuses on the islands that fall under the University of Hawai’i. While at KCC, Hallick and the campus’ chancellor Leon Richards signed an agreement that allows international students obtaining their associate’s degree from KCC to transfer to Pacific University to complete their bachelor’s degree.

International KCC students will be invited to complete their degree at Pacific University if they have maintained a minimum 2.70 grade point average while at Kapi’olani. The agreement, which Hallick described as “really a handshake,” is similar to the one that was entered last year by Pacific and other the University of Hawai’i community colleges.

For Hallick, the greatest opportunity in the new agreement is the possibility of expanding Pacific’s international student population thanks to that of KCC, which consists of 650 students, half of which are from Japan.

“It serves us to have a little higher percentage of international students,” said Hallick. This is because international students not only bring more diversity to a campus, especially a smaller one such as Pacific, but also because when students are in the presence of different cultural perspectives, they are more able to learn how to contribute to what Hallick referred to as a “global community.”

Community is a concept that Pacific and Hawaiian students have long been familiarized with. Hallick explained that the sense of community is a product of the long-standing recruiting relationship between the two entities.

“It’s a very close community and we are present and visible in both places,” Hallick explained the similarities between Pacific and the Hawaiian islands. And because of this, she said that it is understandable why many students would want to come to the mainland to complete their education.

“It feels safe,” said Hallick. “We actually keep track of students.”

When these two securities are combined, Hallick said that parents’ minds will be put at ease and students can feel at home because they more than likely have family or friends who attended Pacific, making it a “warm culture” that “feels quite familiar,” said Hallick.

Not to mention, in today’s economy, Hallick explained that an agreement like this poses greater financial options for college students.

Pacific’s transfer agreements and the existing transfer agreements with several Oregon community colleges. Students who are transferring from one of the selected colleges and maintained a 2.90 grade point average while there are eligible to receive merit scholarships that are equal to that of a freshman entering Pacific.

Advisers and admissions staff will be returning to Hawai’i in July to walk future Boxers and their parents through the pre-registration process. Hallick is confident that the newly instated agreement will be successful in enhancing the diversity of Pacific’s campus.

“At the end of the day,” concluded Hallick, “if students didn’t get something out of being here, it wouldn’t work.”

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