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Carnegie Mellon University Among Peace Corps’ Top-Enrolling Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program Institutions

The Peace Corps announced Carnegie Mellon University ranked No. 8 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.”

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.

Through the Coverdell Fellows program, Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University awards returned volunteers a minimum scholarship of $12,000 per semester.

“We are proud to be a longstanding partner of the Peace Corps. Our faculty are always impressed with the experience and perspective RPCVs bring to the classroom and to our community. Our blend of people, policy, and technology skills build upon the solid foundation that the Peace Corps provides. We look forward to continuing our work with the Peace Corps and providing as many opportunities as possible to RPCVs as they take the next step in their personal and professional journey,” said David Eber, executive director of admissions and financial aid at Carnegie Mellon University.

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 Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy
The Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy is home to two internationally recognized graduate-level institutions at Carnegie Mellon University: the School of Information Systems and Management and the School of Public Policy and Management. This unique colocation combined with its expertise in analytics set Heinz College apart in the areas of cybersecurity, health care, the future of work, smart cities, and arts & entertainment. In 2016, INFORMS named Heinz College the #1 academic program for Analytics Education. For more information, please 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 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.