A new Central Florida partnership will provide graduate-school scholarships to returning Peace Corps volunteers, many of whom will expand their skills and share their experiences during internships at public schools.

The Peace Corps and the University of Central Florida have teamed up to launch the only Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program at a state university in Florida.

Selected Coverdell fellows will have the opportunity to work toward one of more than a dozen master’s degrees offered by UCF’s College of Education or the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program offered by the College of Arts and Humanities.

Internships in Central Florida’s underserved communities will be an integral part of each recipient’s program of study and will allow the students to use their Peace Corps skills to make an impact back at home in the United States. Education students will complete internships at public schools. TESOL students’ internship options include public and private schools, nonprofit organizations and national grant projects offered by local libraries.

“The Peace Corps is delighted to have the University of Central Florida as a partner in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program,” said acting Peace Corps director Carrie Hessler-Radelet.

“This new partnership enables returned Peace Corps volunteers to continue their work in public service through meaningful internships in underserved American communities. Experience overseas and graduate studies position Peace Corps fellows to launch a career by combining coursework with service.” 

UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Waldrop said returning Peace Corps volunteers share UCF’s strong commitments to civic engagement, volunteer service and international programs.

“Their perspectives will enrich the lives of our students and faculty members,” Waldrop said. “We are eager to welcome them to our campus community and prepare them for new opportunities to serve others in our local schools.”

Out-of-state fellows selected for the program will be able to pay in-state tuition, a savings of almost $15,000 per academic year. Two graduate assistantships with 50 percent tuition and fee waivers will be available for in-state fellows.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program started in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University, and now includes more than 80 university partners in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The program is reserved for students who have already completed their tenure abroad with the Peace Corps.

For further information, contact:

Peace Corps: Alethea Parker, Public Affairs Specialist, Peace Corps Atlanta Regional Office, at 404-562-3472 or aparker@peacecorps.gov.

UCF: Chad Binette, UCF News & Information, 407-823-6312, chad.binette@ucf.edu