Peace Corps Announces 2015 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 18, 2015 – For the second time in three years, schools in the state of Washington produced the most Peace Corps volunteers across small, medium and large-sized undergraduate colleges and universities nationwide. The University of Washington reclaimed the top spot among large schools with 72 alumni currently in service, and Western Washington University and Gonzaga University again topped medium and small schools with 47 and 20 currently serving alumni, respectively. Washington is the only state to top all three of Peace Corps’ undergraduate school ranking categories, and the state has long appeared on the agency’s rankings of the top volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas.

Top Colleges 2015

The University of Wisconsin-Madison – which topped last year’s list – came in second this year among large schools with 69 alumni in service, followed by the University of Florida with 66 alumni in service. Among medium-sized schools, American University climbed to the No. 2 spot with 41 alumni currently serving, and George Washington University and the University of Virginia tied for third place, each with 36 alumni in service. Carlton College jumped to second place among small schools with 17 alumni in service, and Middlebury College and the University of Puget Sound both moved up from No. 14 last year to No. 3 this year – tying for the biggest jump in ranking over last year – each with 16 alumni in service.

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”

Among graduate schools, the University of Denver again held the top spot but this year tied with Tulane University, a new addition to Peace Corps’ graduate school rankings, with 18 alumni in service. The University of California, Berkeley remained the all-time highest producer of Peace Corps volunteers in the country, with nearly 3,600 alumni who have served since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961.

This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014. Applicants will now find a simplified, more personal application process, and can learn more about Peace Corps service opportunities by contacting their local recruitment office.

Below find the top five colleges and universities in each category and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. View the complete 2015 rankings of the top 25 schools in each undergraduate category here. Digital content including a video featuring the top schools and an infographic about volunteers’ educational backgrounds can be found here.

Large Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:
More than 15,000 undergraduates

1. University of Washington (72)
2. University of Wisconsin–Madison (69)
3. University of Florida (66)
4. The Ohio State University (64)
5. University of Minnesota Twin Cities (63)

Medium Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:
Between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates

1. Western Washington University (47)
2. American University (41)
3. George Washington University (36)
3. University of Virginia (36)
5. Cornell University (33)

Small Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:
Less than 5,000 undergraduates

1. Gonzaga University (20)
2. Carleton College (17)
3. Middlebury College (16)
3. University of Puget Sound (16)
5. Macalester College (15)

Graduate Schools – Total Volunteers:

1. University of Denver (18)
1. Tulane University (18)
3. University of Minnesota Twin Cities (14)
4. Portland State University (13)
5. University of Michigan (12)
5. Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (12)

Historical, Since 1961 – Total Volunteers:

1. University of California, Berkeley (3,598)
2. University of Wisconsin–Madison (3,145)
3. University of Washington (2,888)
4. University of Michigan (2,596)
5. University of Colorado Boulder (2,411)

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2014 data as of September 30, 2014, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. See the 2014 Top Colleges and Universities here.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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