posted January 15, 2008

Hope Recognized for Peace Corps Volunteers

Hope College has entered the annual rankings of the Peace Corps on the organization's top-25 list of small colleges and universities producing Peace Corps Volunteers in 2007.

Hope is the only school from Michigan on the top-25 listing for small colleges and universities, and is fifth among all Michigan colleges and universities of any size for its number of alumni volunteers in 2007. The Peace Corps announced its top-25 listings for 2007 on Monday, Jan. 14.

Hope is ranked 24th nationally among small colleges and universities, with 14 alumni serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, up from 13 the year before. Since the Peace Corps' inception in 1961, a total of 153 Hope alumni have joined the ranks, making Hope the 283rd producer of volunteers of all time.

The Peace Corps ranks schools according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-size schools have between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools have more than 15,000 undergraduates. Hope has 3,226 students this year.

Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are also in the top-25 undergraduate listings, tied for fifth nationally in the category for large colleges and universities with 80 alumni volunteers each. The other Michigan institutions with more than 14 alumni volunteers in 2007 are Western Michigan University (34), Grand Valley State University (23) and Central Michigan University (15), all of which are in the category for large colleges and universities. The University of Michigan was also in the report's top-five listing for graduate-level programs producing volunteers, placing second nationally with 15 volunteers.

The number of alumni volunteers among the top 25 in each of the three undergraduate size categories ranges from 43 to 113 for large colleges and universities; from 20 to 72 for medium-size colleges and universities; and from 14 to 34 for small colleges and universities.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since its founding 46 years ago have been college graduates. Currently, 95 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 11 percent of those also possessing a graduate-level degree.

Currently there are more than 8,000 volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 volunteers have served in a total of 139 countries.

Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

The entire "Peace Corps Top Colleges" list can be found on the Peace Corps Website at http://www.peacecorps.gov/news/resources/stats/pdf/schools2008.pdf