The Peace Corps is Cutting Back on PCVs

I’ve learned late today that the Peace Corps will not be growing to 20,000, 15,000, or even 10,000 Volunteers in the near future. The word has gone forth from Director Aaron Williams to Country Directors worldwide that they have to cut back on their requests for Trainees.

Because of the on-going Continuing Resolution and the subsequent budget worries, Peace Corps Headquarters is scaling back on growth plans. The Agency will level off at 9,500 Volunteers this year and depending upon whatever budget is eventually passed, the overall numbers may drop again. The Obama Administration has told all agencies to scale back their growth plans. And that means you, Peace Corps!

p.s. Don’t worry, you can be assured no staff positions (especially Schedule C appointees) at HQ in Washington, D.C., will be cut!

Sorry, Rajeev. You won the battle (s) but you lost the war.


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  • As long as it costs about $60,000 a year to keep a PCV in the field the agency will not grow. I say cut that cost in half by getting rid of the bloated bureaucracy at Peace Corps Washington and put twice the number of volunteers in the field overnight.

  • As I watched the segment on “20/20” last Friday I thought, Well, this is terrific ammunition for those who’d like to cut the Peace Corps any way they can.
    Now, voila! Quelle surprise! Coincidence?

  • While researching government reports for my tiny reference book (Peace Corps Chronology; 1961-2010), I noticed that the oft-cited 15,000 volunteers was only true for one year out of fifty. For this reason, I calculated the yearly average by decade and included a graph in the appendice. During the 1960’s, the average number of volunteers in the field was just over 11,000 per year. Interestingly enough once the number of volunteers surpassed 10,000, the Peace Corps began to recieve complaints about volunteers not adapting and getting into trouble. The root of the problem was a lack of work. It might not be such a bad idea to cap the number of volunteers at 9,500 until the agency retools for more.

    When I met Aaron Williams at a Santa Barbara shindig, we just talked about Chicago. Then I asked him where he would like me to mail his complimentary copy of my new book about the agency. He referred me to his assistant, out in the hall. So, away from the suits and necklaces, his assistant and I had the opportuniy of speaking more openly. I mentioned the rape problem.

    “Oh. The numbers have improved. It’s no longer a problem,” he said and I realized that what we have is institutional denial. This is and has been a reported problem since 1992!

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