HBCUs Recognized as Top Producers of Peace Corps Volunteers

February 20, 2008

Howard University, Spelman College and Hampton University Top the 2008 List

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2008 - Peace Corps recognizes Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) throughout the U.S. that are the top producers of Peace Corps Volunteers for 2008. With 11 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, Howard University is recognized this year as No. 1. Since Peace Corps inception in 1961, a total of 170 alumni of Howard University have joined the ranks.

The Peace Corps recognition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) includes 86 schools across the country with alumni who have become Peace Corps Volunteers since the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961. The Peace Corps provides college graduates with a way to make a difference in the world while also gaining competitive employment advantages by learning new languages, developing new competencies, and relating to people across cultures.

Other top HBCU producers with alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps include Spelman College, Hampton University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Texas Southern University, and University of the District of Columbia. Currently, there are 63 HBCU graduates serving as Peace Corps Volunteers around the world.

The top three historical producers of Volunteers serving since Peace Corps inception are Howard University with 170, Morehouse College with 72 Volunteers, and Texas Southern University with 71 Volunteers. Since 1961, a total of 1,794 HBCU graduates have served as Peace Corps Volunteers. Their scope of work varies from education, business, and health to environment, agriculture, and urban development projects.

Peace Corps Director Tschetter said, Historically Black Colleges and Universities continue to provide the Peace Corps with a capable and diverse group of Volunteer candidates. They represent the best of America as they apply their education and skills as Volunteers around the globe.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer all students, regardless of race, an opportunity to develop their skills and talents. These institutions train young people who later go on to serve domestically and internationally in both the public and private sectors. Many HBCUs require community service hours as a graduation requirement, and most encourage students to participate in community service activities. For many students at HBCUs, Peace Corps service is a natural extension to these kinds of activities.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps over the past 46 years have been college graduates. Ninety-five percent of current Volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 11 percent of those also possessing a graduate level degree. However, the Peace Corps has also enjoyed the support and interest of high school graduates and community college graduates.

In addition to serving their country and building practical skills, there are also financial benefits to Peace Corps service. These include deferment of student loans and forgiveness of Perkins loans. Many Volunteers are also eligible to earn credits toward graduate school while in service. Other benefits of service include paid living and housing expenses, scholarships for higher education, opportunities for career advancement, and a readjustment allowance upon completion of two years of service.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

# # #least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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