Kennesaw State University is waiving tuition for select Masters of Business Administration students who are returning Peace Corps volunteers if the students participate in a vocational project with a Mayan community in Canton.

The Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State is to launch the two-year program in the fall, accepting two students per year who are returning Peace Corps volunteers. The program, Peace Corps Fellows/USA Program, will require the students to volunteer with Maya Pastoral Inc. for the Maya Heritage Community Project, to provide educational and vocational skills for Mayan Native Americans, in exchange for the MBA students’ free tuition.

Six returning Peace Corps volunteers are now faculty or staff at the Coles College, including management professor Jim Herbert, who was a volunteer in the 1962 inaugural Peace Corps class and who brought the Mayan program to the school’s attention, according to Sheb True, director of the Coles College’s International Center.

The Mayan population in North Georgia immigrated from Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas. Although most of the men in the community speak Spanish in addition to their native Mayan language, half of the women who have come to Georgia do not, Dr. True told GlobalAtlanta.

Their children grow up speaking a mixture of Maya, Spanish and English, but Georgia schools sometimes assume they are native Spanish speakers, so when they are placed in Spanish language classes, they do poorly, he noted.

The Coles College program aims to help educate public schools, state agencies, law enforcement, health care providers, non-profit organizations and local businesses about Mayan culture. It also aims to educate the Maya about U.S. law, health and safety, Dr. True said.

“Over the past 25 years, KSU has established a strong foundation in global learning, and it is a top priority in KSU’s strategic plan for the 21st century,” he said, adding that the university’s proposed Quality Enhancement Plan on Global Learning for Engaged Citizenship is designed to advance global learning at KSU.

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Dr. Sheb True – (770) 423-6076

Kennesaw State University – Coles College of Business