Peace Corps Announces 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools


WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 28, 2017 – For the first time in three years, the University of Wisconsin–Madison reclaims the top spot among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are currently 87 Badgers serving in 40 countries around the world. For years, UW-Madison has consistently sent some of the largest cohorts of volunteers overseas and has maintained its place as the No. 2 all-time volunteer producer with 3,239 alumni having served since 1961. Among small schools, Denison University tops the list, making significant strides this year by jumping 13 spots from No. 14 in 2016. American University finally nabs the No. 1 medium volunteer-producing university title, having been just shy of the top spot for the past two years.

Among graduate schools, Tulane University remains in the top spot for the third-consecutive year and shares its title with American University, with each institution having sent 20 alumni to serve this year. The University of California, Berkeley remains the all-time highest producer of Peace Corps volunteers in the country, having had more than 3,600 alumni answer the call to service since 1961.  

“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”

Once again, District of Columbia-area schools have a strong hold on spots in the medium-sized colleges and universities category with American University’s local rival, The George Washington University, ranking No. 3 this year. Georgetown University and Howard University earned the No. 6 and No. 14 spots, respectively.

Among small schools, the University of Mary Washington moves up in the ranking to No. 2, sharing the spot with the University of Puget Sound. Both St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Hobart and William Smith Colleges make the largest leap in rankings this year with both schools moving from unranked to No. 4 among small schools, earning a three-way tie with Whitworth University. Spelman College appears on the ranking for the first time at No. 7 in the small enrollment category, one of two historically black college and universities to appear on the list along with Howard University.

Below find the top five schools in each category and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. View the complete 2017 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here and find an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving here.

Large Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers: 

More than 15,000 undergraduates

1. University of Wisconsin–Madison - 87

2. University of Washington - 73

3. University of Minnesota - 70

4. University of Michigan - 60

5. University of Florida - 58


Medium Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers: 

Between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates

1. American University - 54

2. Western Washington University - 48

3. The George Washington University - 45

4. The College of William & Mary - 36

5. Humboldt State University - 33


Small Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers: 

Less than 5,000 undergraduates

1. Denison University - 16

2. University of Mary Washington - 13

2. University of Puget Sound - 13

4. St. Mary's College of Maryland - 12

4. Whitworth University - 12

4. Hobart and William Smith Colleges - 12


Graduate Schools – Total Volunteers: 

1. American University - 20

1. Tulane University - 20

3. University of South Florida - 18

4. University of Michigan - 15

4. Boston University - 15


Historical, Since 1961 – Total Volunteers: 

1. University of California, Berkeley - 3,640

2. University of Wisconsin–Madison - 3,239

3. University of Washington - 2,981

4. University of Michigan - 2,684

5. University of Colorado Boulder - 2,468


*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2016 data as of September 30, 2016, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, 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, more than 225,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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