Peace Corps Announces Top 25 Volunteer Producing Schools

January 12, 2009

University of Washington, George Washington University, and University of Chicago top this year's list

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2009 - The Peace Corps is proud to announce the top colleges and universities on their annual list of "Peace Corps Top Colleges and Universities" for 2009.

For the third consecutive year, the University of Washington is No. 1 on the undergraduate list in the large schools category, with 104 alumni serving as Peace Corps Volunteers. The University of Colorado-Boulder has risen dramatically from sixth place last year to claim the No. 2 in the large schools category, with 102 Volunteers. Michigan State University has also risen up two spots from fifth place last year to take the No. 3 rank among the country's large schools, with 89 currently-serving Volunteers.

In the medium schools category, George Washington University captured the No. 1 spot this year with a total of 57 alumni serving as Volunteers. The University of California-Santa Cruz takes the No. 2 honors this year with 52 Volunteers, while American University comes in quite closely behind UC Santa Cruz to garner the No. 3 spot with 51 Volunteers.

Among small schools, the University of Chicago tops the list at No. 1 for the second consecutive year in a row, with 35 Volunteers. St. Olaf College rose significantly this year from ninth place last year to take the No. 2 spot with 26 Volunteers, edging out a three-way tie for the No. 3 spot, which is shared this year by Middlebury College, Smith College, and the University of Puget Sound, with 21 alumni serving respectively as Volunteers.

In the graduate schools rankings, Boston University garners the No. 1 spot this year, up from third place last year with a total of 17 graduate alumni serving as Peace Corps Volunteers. The No. 2 rank is shared this year by New York University and Ohio State University, with both schools fielding 16 Volunteers each.

Since its inception in 1961, the Peace Corps has received Volunteers from over 3,000 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico.

"The Peace Corps provides a unique opportunity for graduates to use their education and skills, and apply them in the real world," said Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter. "I am proud to know that over 3,000 institutions of higher learning are currently represented by Peace Corps Volunteers serving in 76 countries overseas. These institutions can be proud of the contributions that their graduates are making in improving the lives of others around the globe."

Historically, the University of California, Berkeley receives the honor of producing the most Peace Corps Volunteers of all time, with a total of 3,371 Volunteers having joined the Peace Corps since 1961. In addition to UC Berkeley, six other universities have contributed over 2,000 Volunteers: the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Michigan State University.

Schools are ranked according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools more than 15,000 undergraduates. To view the entire "Peace Corps Top Colleges and Universities" list for 2009, click here.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since its founding 47 years ago have been college graduates. Currently, 94 percent of Volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with nine percent possessing a graduate-level degree.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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