Truman Scholarship


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.

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


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or expect to receive citizenship by the date the scholarship will be awarded.
  • Junior-level academic standing or third-year senior
  • Commitment to work in government, education, the nonprofit sector, or public interest and advocacy for at least three of the first seven years after completing the Foundation-funded graduate degree
  • Top 25% of the class (usually around a 3.7 GPA)


Please review “Are You a Potential Truman Scholar?

  1. Extensive record of campus and community service;
  2. Evidence of leadership
  3. Commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors;
  4. Communication skills and a high probability of becoming a “change agent”; and
  5. Strong academic record with likely acceptance to the graduate school of the candidate’s choice.


The Truman website is incredibly resource-rich and we strongly encourage interested applicants to browse the wealth of guidance and information the Foundation provides to candidates:

Institutional nomination is required for the Truman Scholarship competition.  We must receive the following materials at by  December 15, 12 noon EST:

  • Completed Truman Application Form and Policy Proposal: Forms and details here.
  • Public Policy Proposal
    • The proposal is in the form of a brief memorandum to an office holder in position to implement its recommendations. It should describe an issue briefly, suggest action to address the issue, and identify major obstacles to implementation.
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation. Recommenders should email their signed letters on institutional/organizational letterhead to by the above deadline. The Truman Foundation requires that:
    • one letter addresses your “leadership potential and abilities”
    • one will addresses your “commitment to a career in public service”
    • one will addresses your “intellect and prospects for continuing academic success”
    • Please note that the leadership and service letters must specifically reference examples that you include in your application responses.  It is therefore essential that you have meaningful conversations with your Truman writers well in advance of the internal application/letter deadline.
    • Applicants and writers will benefit from Truman’s  Guidance for Letters of Recommendation.