Western Illinois University

Why you should consider this program

We offer a two-year, graduate fellowship program that provides RPCVs the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree while also applying their unique life and service experience to rural communities in Illinois. Central to our program, is the 11-month, paid internship in which RPCVs lead local development projects, such as: downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, tourism development, health education, volunteer recruitment & management, and disaster preparedness. 

Our students work to build local capacity, mobilize volunteers, and make sustainable progress. In conjunction with our program's AmeriCorps grant, RPCVs have the opportunity to link their graduate assistantships and full-time internships to half and/or full-time AmeriCorps service assignments, respectively. As such, our student's community-based service allows them to earn an AmeriCorps Education Award, in addition to the tuition waiver and guaranteed graduate assistantship stipend. We are committed to the personal and professional growth of our students and support their participation in multiple conference and training opportunities throughout the two-year program. 

We are managed through the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) and maintain an extensive network of partners on-campus, and across the state, in order to support our students and the work they do in host communities. Join us, apply today!

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 17,219 $ 51,395 $ 0 + You receive additional benefits.
Out of state $ 17,219 $ 51,395 $ 0 + You receive additional benefits.
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

  • Program Assets
  • AmeriCorps
  • USDA Rural Development
  • Host Sites

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

  • AmeriCorps education award 
  • Additional trainings and conferences

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 6,880

Application fee waived?



  • Hands-on Internship Experience 
  • Strong Personal and Professional Support 
  • Access to a Network of Community Development Professionals through the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs 
  • Access to a Social Network of RPCVs Committed to Service and Education 
  • Opportunity to Work on the Third Goal of Peace Corps  
  • Rewarding Employment Opportunities After Graduation

Jobs for program alumni

  • CEO at ZoomRank, Kansas City, MO
  • Community Development Specialist, Global Communities, Moline, IL
  • City Planning, Santa Barbara, CA        
  • Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Indianapolis, IN
  • VT Development Association, Saint Johnsbury, Vermont
  • Lead Teacher - High School Equivalency and ELL, Muscatine Community College, Muscatine, IA
  • Community Development Specialist, University of Mo, Extension
  • MAPPING the Future of Your Community, IIRA
  • Public Analysist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Director, Performance Improvement at Illinois Hospital Association, Springfield, IL
  • Rural Hospital Development, Illinois Hospital Association
  • Public Health Educator, Public Health of Muskegon County, MI
  • Executive Director, Fort Bend Cares, Missouri City TX
  • Executive Assistant at the Trust for Public Lands,  NYC
  • NY Department of Environmental Conservation National Park Service
  • Peace Corps Regional Recruiter
  • Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Program Specialist 
  • Village Administrator, Village of Lena IL

Other details

Program length

2 Years in most cases

Application requirements

Apply to WIU and one of our ten partnering departments at wiu.edu/grad

Apply to our Peace Corps Fellows (PCF) program by submitting:

  • Your online survey (http://www.wiu.edu/peace_corps/fellows/apply.php),
  • Your resume
  • A copy of your Description of Service (DOS) (draft is acceptable if you have not completed your service)
  • A two-page essay which addresses your reasons for applying to the program, your career aspirations, and a motivational statement describing your interest and commitment to community and economic development

Admissions process

  • Complete your application requirements
  • PCF staff will review your application
  • With a positive review we will set up an online interview (skype or other e-interface)

Program begins

August or January

Non-traditional options

  • Online degree program

  • Online/Hybrid degree program Community, Economic (CED) degree 

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Karen Mauldin-Curtis, Program Director

503 Currens Hall
One University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455