New Peace Corps Partnership with Metropolitan State University Allows Volunteers to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees While Serving
ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Peace Corps and Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn., will unveil a new partnership on Monday, October 23, that will allow graduates from community colleges to work on their bachelor’s degrees while serving in the Peace Corps. Details will be announced in the Great Hall at Metropolitan State University at 11:00 a.m. by Dr. Wilson Bradshaw, president of Metropolitan State University, and Ronald Tschetter, new Peace Corps director.
“The encouragement that this program will offer these graduates to enter the Peace Corps will potentially spark an increase in the number of qualified Volunteers assisting communities across the world.”
For some community college students, earning an associate’s degree is a stepping stone on the path to a bachelor’s degree, and 27 months of Peace Corps service does not always factor into their career goals. This pilot program at Metropolitan State University is designed to support those applicants who have received an Associate of Arts degree from a community college and would like to work toward their bachelor’s degree while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
“Community college graduates have many of the occupational and technical skills that are crucial to helping people in countries where Peace Corps Volunteers serve,” said Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter. “The encouragement that this program will offer these graduates to enter the Peace Corps will potentially spark an increase in the number of qualified Volunteers assisting communities across the world.”
“We are proud that the Peace Corps has selected Metropolitan State University as the first university to offer a bachelor’s degree program to Peace Corps Volunteers,” said Dr. Wilson G. Bradshaw, president of Metropolitan State University. “We have been providing high quality, student-centered education for many years. This initiative will offer Peace Corps Volunteers the opportunity to work on their bachelor’s degree while continuing to serve our country. This is yet another demonstration of our unwavering commitment to civic engagement, which is core to our mission.”
To qualify for the pilot program, students must be accepted for admission to the university and be selected by the Peace Corps for service on the basis of the same qualification standards required for all Volunteers. Likewise, program participants are expected to meet the same standards as all other students enrolled in Metropolitan State University. Volunteers will be able to integrate learning from their Peace Corps training and field application with online learning through the Internet and other distance learning as they work toward their degrees.
The new initiative will also help the Peace Corps work toward a more diverse and representative Volunteer corps that better reflects the face of America. Community colleges currently have a more diverse population than that of four-year institutions, and the Peace Corps hopes new opportunities like these will continue to diversify the agency.
The program is a direct result of a three-year cooperative relationship with the American Association of Community Colleges, and a growing interest by community colleges to establish programs that link their graduates to four-year degree opportunities. The pilot program will include only a few Volunteers, but could be expanded as the program develops.
Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, provides high-quality, affordable academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor's and master's levels. It is the only state university in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. During its 35-year history, Metropolitan State has developed innovative approaches to educational programming that have earned it a national reputation for quality and accessibility to under-served populations.
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 182,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.