Internal deadline: December 4, 2015

Final Internal deadline: January 25, 2016

National deadline: February 2, 2016

Eligibility requirements:     

  • Junior-level academic standing; or senior-level standing 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 the nonprofit and advocacy sectors*
  • Communication skills and high probability of becoming a "change agent"
  • Strong academic record with likely acceptance by a first-rate graduate school
  • Upper 25% of class (often candidates have 3.8 or better grade point average)
  • Nominated 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 purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

Award summary and conditions: The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation - the federal memorial to our thirty-third President - 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 have 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.  Scholars who are not employed in public service for a total of three years, or who fail to provide proof to the Foundation of such employment, will be required to repay any funds received along with interest.

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 ten-week long Summer Institute in Washington, DC.  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 Summer Institute, Scholars may elect to stay on in Washington, DC 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 a committee. Whitman's campus representative is Keith Raether, Director of Fellowships and Grants. 

Whitman internal application requirements: By the internal deadline, the following should be submitted to the Fellowships & Grants Office:

  • Curriculum vitae - special focus on community service
  • Answers to the following two questions:
    • "Describe one specific example of your leadership."
    • "Describe the problems or needs of society you want to address when you enter public service."

If you are nominated, the faculty or campus representative will register you on the Truman application site. You will then receive an email with a one-time log-in. Your email address will also act as your username, so please be certain to use an email address that you can access easily and is appropriate to appear on your application.  Once you have logged into the site, you will be taken to a dashboard page where you can update your profile and select a password that you can remember.  For information and guidance in preparing your application go to:

Application requirements:

  • Application form (uploaded by the applicant)
  • Letters of recommendation (3) regarding leadership ability and potential, commitment to a career in public service and intellect and prospect for continuing academic success (uploaded by the faculty representative)
  • Policy proposal (uploaded by the applicant)
  • Transcript (uploaded by the faculty representative)
  • Letter in institutional nomination (written and uploaded by the faculty representative)

Internal nomination required: Yes; Whitman may submit up to four nominees

National committee interview: Yes

Announcement dates:
Finalists announced
:  February 2016
Scholars announced:  April 2016

Contact information: