Truman Scholarship

Internal deadline: December 5, 2016 
Final internal deadline: February 3, 2017
National deadline: February 7, 2017

Eligibility requirements:    

  • U.S. citizen or U.S. national 
  • Junior, or senior in third year of college enrollment, or senior and a resident of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or a Pacific Island 
  • Extensive record of campus and community service
  • Commitment to a career in government or nonprofit/advocacy sectors
  • Communication skills and high probability of becoming a "change agent"
  • Strong academic record with likely acceptance by a first-tier graduate school
  • Upper quartile of class (candidates generally have a GPA of 3.8 or higher)
  • Nomination by Whitman (up to four students may be nominated)

The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service-oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purpose is to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

Award summary and conditions: The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards merit-based scholarships to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school; participate in leadership development activities; and enjoy special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government. Scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving funding. 

The Foundation provides:

  • Up to $30,000 in support for graduate studies toward a public service-related degree. The Foundation has supported Truman Scholars in many fields of study, including agriculture, biology, engineering, environmental management, physical and social sciences, and technology policy, as well as traditional fields such as economics, education, government, history, international relations, law, political science, public administration, nonprofit management, public health, and public policy;
  • Truman Scholars Leadership Week. This event, held at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, introduces new Scholars to the services provided by the Foundation and the many pathways to public service.  Scholars participate in seminars and workshops with distinguished Truman alumni and other public service leaders; a policy analysis project; a graduate school and career fair with representatives from the schools and programs most attended by Truman Scholars; and community service events in the Kansas City area. This event is mandatory for all students selected as Truman Scholars;
  • Summer Institute. Immediately after college graduation, Scholars have the opportunity to participate in a 10-week Summer Institute in Washington, D.C.  The Foundation arranges internships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations, seminars and workshops, meetings with Washington policymakers and Truman alumni, and opportunities for community building among Scholars;
  • Truman-Albright and Other Fellows Program. After the Summer Institute, Scholars may elect to stay on in Washington, D.C. for a full year in the Truman-Albright Fellows Program. Scholars are placed in public service jobs while participating in workshops, seminars, and mentoring opportunities. Additional fellowship opportunities, outlined on the Truman website, are available for Scholars as they move through the early stages of their careers in public service.

Application process: Applicants must be nominated by their campus representative. To be considered for nomination, applicants must submit an internal application to their campus representative for review by an internal Whitman committee. 

Whitman internal application requirements: By the internal deadline, the following must be submitted to the Office of Fellowships and Grants:

  • Curriculum vitae: special focus on community service
  • Responses to the following prompts (which duplicate those in the Truman application): 
  1. Identify and discuss a specific example of your leadership 
  2. Identify and discuss a problem or need of society that you wish to address when you enter public service

If nominated by the internal (Whitman) selection committee, you will be registered on the Truman application site. You will then receive an e-mail with login name and instructions. 

Application requirements:

  • Application form, uploaded by applicant
  • Letters of recommendation (3), uploaded by faculty representative
  • Policy proposal, uploaded by applicant
  • Transcript, uploaded by faculty representative
  • Letter of institutional nomination, written and uploaded by faculty representative

Internal nomination required: Yes; Whitman may nominate up to four candidates

National committee interview: Yes

Contact information: