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Become a Partner University

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program is a graduate school program for returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Through this program, schools across the country offer financial support to returned Volunteers who, in turn, complete substantive internships related to their program of study in underserved American communities. There are no limits on the number or kinds of degrees/certifications that can be offered through the Coverdell Fellows Program.

“[Jonathan] has an approach and perspective not commonly found among graduate students … [His] Peace Corps experience instilled in him an insightful awareness of the challenges communities (and cultures) face in their pursuit of economic viability.”

Michael LainoffNorthern Arizona University

  • Why Partner with the Coverdell Fellows Program?

    Recruiting a Unique Brand of Graduate Student

    In the Classroom:

    Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) bring with them a wealth of international experience in a variety of fields, including agriculture, education, public health, and community development. Peace Corps fellows are motivated, ready to learn, and eager to expand upon their Peace Corps experiences.

    “The RPCVs in our program are mature, confident, highly capable individuals with an unusual capacity for independent work and a core personal commitment to human rights and social justice. They have experience with international service and the critical basics of business projects and issues.”

    Carole FerraraMarquette University

    On Campus:

    On campus, Peace Corps fellows help create a community of both returned Volunteers and those interested in the mission of the Peace Corps, often organizing campuswide volunteer events and promoting international understanding.

    “The Peace Corps fellows at [the School of Public and Environmental Affairs] have been the nexus for coordinating Peace Corps recruitment at Indiana University, Bloomington. The fellows support recruitment events such as class talks, information sessions, career fairs, and nomination banquets. The rise in IU-Bloomington's rankings as a producer of Peace Corps Volunteers can be attributed to the large number of events that are staffed by Peace Corps fellows. Also, Peace Corps fellows created and continue to lead the IU RPCV group, which has formed a large network of RPCVs in over 10 professional and graduate programs in Bloomington.”

    Jennifer ForneyIndiana University, Bloomington

    In the Community:

    Returned Volunteers are experienced in adapting to new cultures and environments, developing and managing projects, dealing with culture and language barriers, and capitalizing on limited resources. These skills and experiences are transferable to the underserved American communities where Peace Corps fellows complete their internships.

    “Fellows are a tremendous asset to the northwest Ohio area, where they contribute to local organizations in need of their unique knowledge and skills through their participation in the program’s internship experience. Fellows with both professional and language skills are highly valued by the region’s educational organizations (formal and nonformal) that lack bilingual professionals to assist with students and clientele.”

    Margaret Zoller BoothBowling Green State University

    Recruiting Through New Channels

    Coverdell Fellows Program university partners gain access to future, current, and returned Peace Corps Volunteers through Peace Corps regional offices in the United States and via the Peace Corps Office of University and Domestic Partnerships.

    Regional staff, many of whom are returned Volunteers, work closely with schools to coordinate on a variety of recruiting activities. Contact your local Peace Corps office for more information.

    University partner program details are available to returned Volunteers via a searchable database in the Partner Universities section of the Coverdell Fellows Program website.


  • Getting a Program Started on Your Campus

    New partners are added through a competitive standing invitation to participate process, which includes submitting a formal proposal. To prepare for the proposal-writing process, explore the following:

    Identify Supporters on Campus

    The first step is to determine the level of interest in bringing the skills and experience of returned Volunteers to campus and to identify potential supporters of a new program.

    Identify a Community Need

    Each Peace Corps fellow is required to participate in a meaningful internship related directly to his/her program of study. A critical element is identifying an American underserved community or organization that would benefit from hosting fellows.

    Identify a Coverdell Fellows Program Coordinator

    A Coverdell Fellows Program partnership is usually initiated by a faculty or staff member who is aware of a need in a nearby American underserved community, and who is willing to commit to establishing a program to address this need—a program campus coordinator. This individual develops a framework for a Coverdell Fellows Program partnership and submits a proposal to the Peace Corps. Having someone committed to shepherding the program from inception to establishment and maintenance is critical to a program’s long-term success.

    Identify Resources

    The two requirements of the Coverdell Fellows Program are as follows:

    • Financial support for the fellow
    • An internship related to the program of study in an underserved American community

    Developing a Proposal

    New Partners

    Schools interested in partnering with the Peace Corps through the Coverdell Fellows Program must submit a proposal, which may be done three times yearly. For more information, please contact the Office of University Programs at UniversityPrograms@peacecorps.gov, 855.855.1961 ext. 1440, or 202.692.1440.

    Program Expansion for Existing Partners

    Existing partners may not be required to write a new proposal, depending on the circumstances of the expansion. A program may be expanded without submitting a new proposal if all of the following conditions are met:

    1) The degree(s) and/or certificate(s) to be added is housed with the same
    discipline(s) as those currently offered;

    2) Fellows admitted to the new program(s) of study will be extended
    all of the same program benefits as others currently enrolled; and

    3) Fellows admitted to the new program(s) of study will be subject to all of
    the same program requirements as others currently enrolled.

    If all of the above conditions are met, existing partners may expand their programs simply by sending written notification—email is fine—with the relevant details to fellows@peacecorps.gov.

    If any of the above conditions are not met, the partner must submit a new proposal.

    Implementing Your Program

    Once a proposal has been accepted by the Peace Corps, the new partner and the Peace Corps will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to formalize the relationship between the two organizations. Existing partners and the Peace Corps will sign an addendum to their existing MOA. After the MOA is signed and the program is established formally, the school may begin to enroll Peace Corps fellows. The school is responsible for the financial support and maintenance of its program, including placing fellows in the required internships.

    Maintaining Your Program

    Partner schools are expected to provide updates on their programs each fall to the Coverdell Fellows Program office at the Peace Corps. Updates may include census information, program/personnel changes, feedback, and other data as requested by the Coverdell Fellows Program staff.

    The Coverdell Fellows Program offers technical assistance in the form of webinars, direct marketing to potential fellows, national marketing of the program, and personal communications with partner schools. The Peace Corps also hosts campus coordinator seminars at which representatives from different schools can exchange ideas and information and attend workshops and presentations on special topics. The Peace Corps aims to foster a community in which coordinators and fellows at participating universities learn and benefit from one another's experiences.

Last updated May 03 2016

Graduate School
Program Overview

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the Paul D. Coverdell
Fellows Program


Contact the Coverdell Fellows Program manager at:
Peace Corps
1111 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20526

Phone: 202.692.2608

Email: fellows@peacecorps.gov

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