Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities

Michigan Leads Way in First Ever Graduate School Rankings

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 30, 2006 Every year, thousands of college graduates travel across the globe to assist those they have never met as Peace Corps volunteers. In what has become an annual tradition, Director Gaddi H. Vasquez and the rest of the Peace Corps staff recognize those alumni who take on this challenge and serve the Peace Corps worldwide.

For the 20th year in a row, the University of Wisconsin at Madison takes the top spot with 104 volunteers serving in the field, making it the No. 1 producer of Peace Corps volunteers. However, the University of Washington is not far behind with 102 alumni located around the world as Peace Corps volunteers. Among medium-sized schools, the University of Virginia again claimed the No. 1 spot with 80 volunteers. And for the first time, Dartmouth College takes the top spot for small schools with 37 alumni currently serving as volunteers.

Adding a new category this year, Peace Corps has also tabulated rankings for volunteers with advanced degrees. Ranking No. 1 on the graduate schools list is the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with 22 volunteers. In the No. 2 and 3 spots are the University of Wisconsin at Madison with 18 alumni serving and George Washington University with 17 volunteers.

"The willingness of so many people to use their degrees and life experiences to share with other cultures is a commitment no one should overlook," said Director Vasquez. "There is no single path to success. But those who leave a legacy in a rural village in Madagascar or a city in Ukraine know the impact that Peace Corps can have not only in that community but also on the remainder of their own careers."

Other noteworthy movers this year include Kalamazoo College in Michigan which catapulted from unranked last year to No. 8 this year on the small schools list. Their 21 volunteers also elevate them to the No. 1 school per capita. Wake Forest University also jumped from the No. 22 spot among small schools last year all the way to No. 11 this year with 20 volunteers. The highest mover on the large universities list was the University of Kansas, which went from No. 23 to 18, and the biggest leap on the medium universities list was the University of Idaho, which went from No. 23 to 13.

Although Kalamazoo made the highest debut, all of the lists had new entries. California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo entered the large schools list at No. 22. Medium schools entering the list this year are Humboldt State University (No. 18) and the College of Charleston (No. 25). Small schools entering the list include Kalamazoo College (No. 8), Whitman College (No. 16), Bowdoin College (No. 20), Carleton College (No. 20), Macalester College (No. 20), Connecticut College (No. 24), and Valparaiso University (No. 24).

Among the all-time top producing schools, the University of California at Berkeley continues to be No. 1 the only school to have produced more than 3,000 volunteers since the Peace Corps\' inception in 1961. Michigan State broke the 2,000 volunteer mark for the first time, becoming only the fifth university to do so.

Schools are ranked according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-size schools are those between 5,001 to 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools are those with more than 15,000 undergraduates. The entire Top-Producing Colleges and Universities 2006 list can be found in the Media Resources section.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps over the past 44 years have been college graduates. Currently, 96 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 13 percent of those also possessing a graduate leveeers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 13 percent of those also possessing a graduate level degree. However, over the years, the Peace Corps has also enjoyed the support and interest of high school graduates and community college graduates, and a number of community colleges also produce alumni who are serving as volunteers today.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. 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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