Jump to Content or Main Navigation

Scenic images from the field

Western Illinois University — Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs - Community/Economic Development

Program Type:
Coverdell Fellows
Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs - Community/Economic Development
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:

Rolling with 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 and obtain specialized training and experience in community and economic development. In addition to their graduate coursework, Fellows participate in specialized training in community and economic development throughout their time in our program. During the first year in the program, Fellows have the opportunity to merge their graduate assistantship assignment into part-time AmeriCorps service and are then enrolled as full-time AmeriCorps members, assigned to community-based internships, during the second year in the program.

Serving as AmeriCorps members, our Fellows build local capacity and mobilize resources. Fellows apply their unique set of experiences, training, and skills to underserved rural communities in Illinois. They lead community projects such as: downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship development, tourism development, health education and outreach, volunteer management, and disaster preparedness. They deliver measurable results with long-term impact.

The program is coordinated by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University. The IIRA 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.

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