The United States Public Service Academy will offer a unique contribution to higher education in the United States. As the country’s first national university, it will provide competitive, federally-subsidized, service-driven undergraduate education to students from all across the country and the world.

The Academy will attract a high-achieving student body that represents the geographic and ethnic diversity of our country, bringing to campus a rich mix of our nation’s population — rural and urban, conservative and liberal, Northern and Southern, small town and suburb, East Coast and West Coast, Red State and Blue State. Spots for incoming freshmen would be allocated by state, following a congressional nomination process similar to that used for admission to the military academies. For each incoming class, the Admissions Office would reserve two spots per electoral vote from each state and the District of Columbia. In addition, fifty spots would be reserved for international students, and one hundred fifty spots would be reserved for the Academy Admissions Office to select from Presidential nominees and the remaining pool of congressional nominees. This formula would yield a freshman class of roughly 1,275 students, and a four-year student population of about 5,100.

A Culture of Service
The U.S. Public Service Academy will be unlike any civilian college in America. Like the military academies, the Academy will foster a campus culture of service through an intense program in which various learning experiences – classroom work, community service, study abroad, summer internships – reinforce the overarching goal of developing strong public leaders with the moral character, academic training, and leadership experience they need to serve our nation honorably and effectively. The campus ethos and daily pace of life will be more akin to a military academy than a typical liberal arts college. Students will be held to the highest standards of behavior and character through the Academy Honor System, which will underpin all campus activities. They will follow a structured day of classes – attendance will be mandatory – and they will be required to participate in cultural programs, social events, and service projects throughout the school year. Taken as a whole, these corps-building activities will foster unity, develop discipline, and instill an ethic of service that will remain with Academy students throughout a lifetime of public leadership.

Focus on Public Service and Leadership
The U.S. Public Service Academy will serve as the nation’s flagship institution for public leadership. Working with top scholars from around the country, the Academy will develop a structured academic program that will engage students in a rigorous program of study devoted to free and open inquiry, free expression of ideas, and the pursuit of truth. It will offer students a broad-based liberal arts education that emphasizes a commitment to public service but maintains the academic rigor and wide-ranging intellectual experience essential to flexible, critical thinking. Academy students will earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degree in traditional subjects such as English, economics, biology, or physics. All students also will be required to take a large number of basic courses in American History, World History, Government, and Economics, and they must become fluent in a foreign language. These universal requirements will provide a solid foundation for civilian leadership.

In addition to their Academic Major, students will participate in a systematic leadership development program that builds students’ leadership responsibilities progressively through the four-year undergraduate program. Modeled on the Cadet Leadership Development Program at the United States Military Academy, the program will involve academic work, extracurricular programming on campus, and service in the community. All students will enroll in a service-learning class each semester. This community service will improve living conditions and promote civic well-being in the local community, while contributing to students’ sense of responsibility and leadership. Through their community service projects, students not only will interact with local people and see firsthand some of the challenges that citizens face on a daily basis, they also will gain practical leadership experience. The hands-on experience will help guide students in their choice of the public service fields in which they want to work.

International Education
All Academy students will be required to spend at least one semester abroad. The study abroad experience will help give students a broader perspective on the world, a greater insight into their own community, and a deeper appreciation for their rights and responsibilities as American citizens. In addition to sending American students abroad, the Academy will bring international students to campus to study. The presence of foreign students will give bring international perspectives into Academy classrooms, dormitories, and social spaces, and it will foster the kind of challenging, thought-provoking intellectual discourse that is essential to a liberal arts education. With at least one hundred international students in each class, roughly 8% of the student body will come from abroad. An international student’s home country is responsible for subsidizing the student’s tuition, fees, room and aboard, and other expenses. Like their American counterparts, international students must agree to a five-year post-graduation service requirement in their native country.

Summer Learning
As part of their academic experience, students will be required to spend eight weeks each summer participating in the following structured learning programs.

First Summer: Emergency Response Training
During the summer after their first year, Academy students will spend eight weeks with an emergency response team at the local, state, or federal level. This experience not only will give Academy students the skills they need to serve the public in an emergency, it also will give them perspective on the challenges faced by emergency responders.

Second Summer: Military Service Internship
During the summer following their second year, Academy students will be required to spend eight weeks in a military service internship. The summer internship will not necessarily include the physical training often associated with military service. Academy personnel, working in close conjunction with military leaders, will identify specific needs at individual military installations around the world, needs that can be met adequately by a college-age intern. The Academy will then assign students to particular internships. The internship will give students firsthand experience with the soldiers, officers, and families who make up the armed forces. This experience not only will bolster our national security and improve the lives of military personnel, it also will help bridge the growing divide between the military and civilian society.

Third Summer: Charitable Service Internship
During the summer after their third year, Academy students will spend eight weeks in a public service internship with a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Academy will form partnerships with non-profit organizations nationwide that are interested in hosting summer interns. As with the military service internships, these organizations will outline their needs, and Academy personnel will assign students to fill those roles. This experience will familiarize Academy students with the potential for public service within the private sector, and it will aid charitable organizations in fulfilling their missions.

Post-Graduation Service Requirements
After graduating from the United States Public Service Academy, students will serve their country for five years. Although non-profit institutions serve the public in important ways, for placement purposes “public service” will be defined to include solely public institutions funded by the local, state, or federal government. The Academy will monitor students’ progress during their five-year commitment, but it will not be responsible for their salaries and benefits, which will be paid by whatever public entity serves as employer.

The Academy Placement Office will be responsible for assigning students to particular post-graduation jobs. State and local governments, federal agencies, and other qualifying entities interested in employing Academy graduates must agree to place Academy graduates on the fast track to leadership positions. The Placement Office will then assign graduates to appropriate employment after assessing local community needs, student experience, and student academic performance. Graduates will be required to go where they are assigned, just as military personnel are required to follow their assignments. The Academy will maintain close contact with graduates during their five years of service not only to ensure that graduates fulfill their commitment in letter and spirit, but also to maintain a strong sense of corps unity.

The U.S. Public Service Academy will be a public-private partnership. Like the military service academies, it will be funded primarily by congressional appropriation, augmented by private partnerships to endow professorships, construct special facilities, and build a lasting endowment. The amount of money necessary to run a top-quality institution should roughly approximate $40,000 per student annually. With a student body of 5,100, the annual operating budget of the Academy will equate to roughly $205 million — less than 1% of the $24 billion in special projects earmarked in the 2005 transportation bill. Assuming a public match of 4 to 1, the annual congressional appropriation will total roughly $164 million. The Academy’s lasting benefit to the American people far exceeds the appropriation.

Because the Academy will be a public institution, Congress must pass legislation to authorize its creation and appropriate funding to support its operation. The timetable for the political process is difficult to predict, and Academy officials are working with Congress to draft and pass the necessary legislation. In the interim, we have begun the process of planning the college. We have assembled teams of experts to study various aspects of the school, from admissions to budgeting to curriculum. These teams will collaborate to draw up a detailed three-year plan that will guide the creation of the Academy. Once the legislation is passed, Academy officials can begin the process of implementing the plan according to the following timeline:

• Year 1: Secure campus location; recruit faculty and staff; develop curricula; plan programs; renovate and construct facilities; raise private funds to build endowment
• Year 2: Recruit faculty and students; develop curricula; plan programs; renovate and construct buildings; prepare campus for first class of incoming students; raise private funds to build endowment
• Year 3: Begin classes

The Academy will require four years to reach its complete cycle of students. The initial four classes of incoming freshmen will comprise roughly 600 students apiece, less than half the proposed total. Admitting fewer students initially will give Academy officials more time to develop a high-quality program that will attract top scholars and students from across the nation.

A Unique Contribution
The U.S. Public Service Academy promises to offer students of all backgrounds and from all over the country the opportunity to experience the best in American higher education. With four years in a structured, service-oriented undergraduate program and five years of hands-on public service, these young leaders will have the experience, skills, and commitment to become strong leaders in their communities. By allocating spots by state, the Academy will attract a geographically diverse student body and will avoid the trap of many top universities, which tend to be stocked primarily with high achievers from the seaboard cities and suburbs. By offering a competitive academic program tuition-free with a post-graduation service requirement, the Academy will not become the exclusive province of the privileged. By structuring its academic program around a commitment to public service, the Academy will create a corps of patriotic leaders dedicated to helping fulfill the ideals of our nation. This is a winning idea.