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Indiana University

IU Bloomington ranked a top Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows graduate school

April 23, 2012
Bloomington, Indiana --

With 13 returned Peace Corps volunteers enrolled in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate program, Indiana University Bloomington is No. 10 in a ranking of Peace Corps Master's International and Coverdell Fellows graduate schools. IU Bloomington is the only school in Indiana to offer both programs to its students.

Students in the Coverdell Fellows graduate program, offered at IU through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, volunteer in nonprofit or public-sector positions during their master's degree education, utilizing skills obtained during their Peace Corps service to assist underserved American communities.

"I think SPEA has a strong commitment to the Peace Corps," said Phaelen Parker, a student in SPEA's Master of Public Affairs program, who served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia from 2006 to 2008. Parker said SPEA's dedication to the Peace Corps Fellows program was a large part of his decision to apply to and attend Indiana University.

"We're proud of this ranking and especially what it says about the quality of the education and the experience here for returned Peace Corps volunteers," said Jennifer Forney, SPEA director of graduate student services. "The School of Public and Environmental Affairs has a long tradition of welcoming RPCVs. Their global perspective, cultural empathy and devotion to service aligns and enriches all that we do. This ranking is motivation to continue and deepen that relationship."

The Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program at IU has been in place since 2005, offering graduate degrees in public affairs and environmental sciences in SPEA. Additionally, IU offers Peace Corps Master's International programs under SPEA and also with the IU School of Education.

IU's 13 Coverdell Fellows graduate students have served as Peace Corps volunteers in various areas around the world including Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.

Overall, more than 1,550 Indiana University alumni have served in the Peace Corps since the agency was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Currently, 51 IU alums are serving as Peace Corps volunteers in communities abroad. About 150 Indiana residents are currently serving in Peace Corps, with more than 3,063 Indiana residents having served.

To view the entire top 10 rankings of Master's International and Coverdell Fellows universities and colleges, visit the Peace Corps website.

About the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program

The Peace Corps partners with more than 70 colleges and universities nationwide to offer returned Peace Corps volunteers an opportunity to earn graduate degrees at a reduced cost. In return for financial benefits such as reduced tuition, assistantships and stipends, volunteers put the skills they learned in the Peace Corps to work in professional internships in underserved American communities. Volunteers who have satisfactorily completed their Peace Corps service have lifetime eligibility for Coverdell Fellows. Nearly 4,000 volunteers have completed the program. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/fellows.

About the Master's International program

The Peace Corps partners with more than 80 colleges and universities nationwide to enable students to earn a master's degree while serving in the Peace Corps. Students begin their studies on campus, serve overseas with the Peace Corps for two years, then return to school to finish graduate work. More than 1,000 volunteers have completed the program. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/masters.

About the Peace Corps

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, and the agency's mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.