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Western Illinois University — Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs

Program Type:
Coverdell Fellows
Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
Degrees Awarded:
Economics (MA), Educational & Interdisciplinary Studies (M.S.Ed), Geography (MA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Political Science (MA), Recreation Park & Tourism Administration (MS), Sociology (MA), TESOL Certificate, Various master's degrees
Admissions Deadlines:

Applications accepted year-round, for admission either in Fall semester (August) or Spring semester (January).

Admissions Cycle:

Priority given to applications submitted by January 31

Program Start:
August, January
Program Founded:
March, 1994


Year 1

  • Graduate Assistantship (GA)
  • 100% Tuition Waiver
  • $7560 (Monthly stipend $943)
  • AmeriCorps Education Award of $2782 upon successful completion of GA

Year 2

  • 11-month internship with a community and economic development emphasis
  • $19,800 (Monthly stipend $1,800)
  • Moving Allowance $500
  • AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,645 upon successful completion of internship


  • Community and Economic Development Training, workshops and Conference Opportunities


In two years, Fellows complete a master's degree in one of the above fields and obtain specialized training and experience in community and economic development. The program is coordinated by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University. The Institute is composed of 40 professional staff members that work in community visioning, economic assistance, transportation assistance, small business development, value-added sustainable agriculture, health and housing outreach, and geographic information systems. Peace Corps Fellows work closely with IIRA staff, and have full access to their expertise and resources while on campus and while serving field internships.

Upon enrollment, Fellows take two or three semesters of classes within their academic department, as well as core courses in community and economic development. Fellows gain experience working with IIRA staff on development projects for their graduate assistantships on campus. They then serve a paid internship in a rural community, learning and providing hands-on leadership and assistance to local community development projects. As part of the fellowship experience, Fellows have the opportunity to serve as AmeriCorps members during their internships. The program provides strong personal and professional support within a friendly team atmosphere.

Many Fellows have found job placements immediately after their internship.


Graduate School

Peace Corps Fellows Program

  • Resume
  • Signed Description Of Service (DOS)
  • Online WIU PCF program questionnaire
  • Two page essay describing your interest and involvement in community and economic development
  • Electronic or Campus interview (possible reimbursement for travel expenses)

For inquiries about Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, call 855.855.1961 x1440.

Program Contacts

If you have questions, please contact:
Ms. Karen Peitzmeier
Internal Coordinator

Institute for Rural Affairs
503a Currens Hall
Macomb, Illinois 61455
(800) 526-9943