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U-M ranks seventh for Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan ranks No. 7 in the nation as a Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows university in the 2013 rankings of top Peace Corps Master's International and Coverdell Fellows graduate schools.

U-M has 20 returned Peace Corps volunteers currently enrolled in the Coverdell Fellows graduate program.

The Coverdell Fellows Program provides returned volunteers with scholarships, academic credit and stipends to earn an advanced degree after they complete their Peace Corps service along with professional internships helping underserved American communities. The Peace Corps Master's International program allows students to earn their graduate degree while serving in the Peace Corps. U-M offers both Peace Corps Fellows and Master's International programs.

"Every year, hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers make a difference by combining meaningful service with graduate studies through Peace Corps' Master's International and Coverdell Fellows programs," said Peace Corps deputy director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. "After completing Peace Corps service, volunteers return to the United States as global citizens, with leadership, cross-cultural understanding and language and technical skills that position them for success in today's global job market."

The Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program at U-M has been in place since 2007, offering graduate degrees through the Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Natural Resources and Environment. In addition, U-M offers four Peace Corps Master's International programs in SNRE and the schools of Social Work, Education and Nursing.

U-M's 20 graduate student fellows have served as Peace Corps volunteers in areas around the world including Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The Peace Corps graduate programs attract global-minded students to the university; help the Peace Corps meet host-country needs for skilled professionals to serve and assist communities in key areas of need, such as environmental conservation, public health, youth and community development, education and English teaching; and help volunteers reach higher education and career goals while bringing their overseas skills and experience back to the U.S.

The history of the Peace Corps can be traced back to U-M when, at 2 a.m. Oct. 14, 1960, then-Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged students on the steps of the Michigan Union to give two years of their lives to help people in developing countries. U-M students accepted that challenge and, in March 1961, Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps.

U-M is the No. 4 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers, and more than 2,500 alumni have served during the agency's history. Currently, 93 U-M graduates are serving as Peace Corps volunteers in communities abroad, making U-M No. 4 on the Peace Corps' annual list of the top volunteer-producing large universities across the country. In addition, Michigan is among the top-producing states for volunteers, and 316 Michigan residents currently serve in the Peace Corps. Overall, nearly 6,900 Michigan residents have served since the agency was created.