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Korbel Among Peace Corps’ Top-Enrolling Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program Institutions

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Korbel Communications

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Peace Corps

The Peace Corps announced today University of Denver ranked No. 2 among the top 10 Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program institutions for the 2020–21 academic year, ranked by enrollment. The graduate fellowship program offers, through the universities/institutions, financial assistance for tuition and fees to returned Peace Corps volunteers.

“We are grateful to partner with these universities to support our returned volunteers as they work toward their academic goals and continue their commitment to lifelong service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn said. “A graduate degree, in combination with the perspective and skills gained through Peace Corps service, enables returned volunteers to become and inspire our next generation of global leaders.”

The top-enrolling Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program institutions for 202021 are:



1. American University – 92 students enrolled

2. University of Denver – 68 students enrolled

3. Brandeis University – 66 students enrolled

4. Middlebury Institute of International Studies – 48 students enrolled

5. Emory University – 44 students enrolled

6. University of Arizona – 42 students enrolled

7. Johns Hopkins University – 32 students enrolled

8. Carnegie Mellon University – 22 students enrolled

9. Duke University – 21 students enrolled

9. Teachers College, Columbia University – 21 students enrolled


First established in 1985 at Teachers College at Columbia University, the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program has grown to include more than 120 higher education partners in 38 states and the District of Columbia. It now includes more than 200 programs that offer returned volunteers the opportunity to pursue over 300 graduate and post-graduate degrees. 

All Fellows complete internships in underserved communities in the United States, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers abroad. Additionally, returned volunteers who enroll in universities upon completion of service may potentially have their noncompetitive eligibility status for federal job applications extended up to three years, at a hiring agency’s discretion.

 “Through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, returned Peace Corps volunteers obtain an affordable graduate level education while also continuing to serve socially disadvantaged and impoverished communities in the U.S.,” said La’Teashia Sykes, director of Peace Corps’ Office of University Programs. “I appreciate the investment and dedication of our partnering universities who support this important program.”

The 2020-21 academic year saw the largest Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program enrollment on record. After the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the global evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers in March 2020, institutions responded by offering additional scholarships and other financial resources for education costs. As a result, more than 900 students enrolled in the program, many graduating with a doctorate, master’s or other specialized degrees and certifications this past academic year. 

The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies enrolled 59 of the University’s 68 Coverdell Fellows. As one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs and public policy, the Korbel School is well aligned with the mission of the Peace Corps and is committed to confronting the great challenges of our time: making the global economy more equitable and inclusive, responding to new and emerging security threats, advancing human rights and social justice, combating climate change, and promoting healthy democracy. At the Korbel School, the student experience is a top priority. Through small classes, mentored research, and experiences outside the classroom, Korbel students receive the kind of training needed to act and to lead. It is in this commitment that the School offers students the ability to tailor degree specialties, work across six on-campus research centers and participate in real-word grants and projects, and benefit from one-on-one interaction with some of the world’s foremost experts in the field.

“Both the Korbel School and the Peace Corps prepare individuals to confront the great challenges our of generation, and we wanted to do everything we could to help returning volunteers continue their intercultural studies. We were more than happy to increase the size and number of Coverdell awards and welcome evacuated volunteers into another like-minded community dedicated to the public good,” said Daniel Doerr, Director of Graduate Enrollment, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

To view a current list of all Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program institutions across the nation, including degrees and financial assistance offered, as well as university contacts, visit:


About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff who are driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally-prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development and youth development. Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.