Harry S. Truman Scholarship
Description: The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards college students who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. They will receive leadership training, graduate school counseling, preferential admission, and merit based aid to some premier graduate institutions, and internship opportunities with federal agencies. Scholars are required to work in public service for three of seven years following completion of a Foundation funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving funding. 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 school, and public service oriented non-profit organizations
Dollar value: The Foundation awards $30,000 merit-based scholarships to college students who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service.
Number of scholarships: Seventy to seventy-five scholarships
Eligibility: A Truman scholarship nominee must be:
- A junior pursuing a bachelor's degree at a four-year institution;
- Nominated by the Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative at his or her respective institution;
- In the upper quarter of his or her class;
- A United States citizen, permanent resident or a United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Resident aliens (green card holders) are not eligible. A good candidate for the Truman Scholarship also:/Has an extensive records of public and community service;
- Has an outstanding leadership potential and communication skills; and
- Committed to careers in government or elsewhere in public service, as defined by the Foundation.
Application Procedures: Candidates must first be nominated by the Truman Faculty Representative
at their institution. Each accredited four-year institution may nominate up to four students for the 2011 awards. Four-year institutions may also nominate three additional students who completed their first two years at a community college. Institutions may nominate candidates who are participating in junior year abroad programs.
Deadline: February 5, 2013
The Harry S. Truman Foundation
12 Jackson Place, NW Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 395-4831 Fax: (202) 395-6995
Interested students are advised to contact Dr. Spisak during their sophomore year. The internal application process at Missouri State University must be completed by December 1st. Annual university nominations must be sent in before February 1st.
Frequently asked questions
What is the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation?
It is the official federal memorial to our 33rd president. The Foundation is a federal executive branch agency that administers the Truman Scholarship program. The agency is governed by a board of trustees appointed by the President of the United States and Congress, endowed by a $55 million trust in the U.S. Treasury, and supported by a program staff of six and more than 100 distinguished public servants and former Truman Scholars who participate in the selection process.
Who are Truman Scholars?
They are persons who have been recognized by the Truman Scholarship Foundation as future "change agents." They have the passion, intellect, and leadership potential that in time should enable them to improve the ways that public entities—be they government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public and private primary and secondary schools, or advocacy organizations—serve the public good.
How does the Foundation define "public service"?
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.
How important is the public service record?
A Candidate's public service record is one of the most important criteria for selection. Students without an extensive public service background will not be successful Candidates - regardless of GPA or other accomplishments. Unlike other gaps in the application (a lower class rank, no government internship experience, etc.), a lack of public service cannot be ameliorated by achievement elsewhere.
How important are grades?
The Truman does not have a minimum GPA requirement - and grades are considered less important than either the Candidate's public service experiences or her leadership record. Candidates are evaluated on their ability to receive outstanding marks in challenging coursework related to their field of interest rather than an overall GPA. But, the Truman is an intensely competitive Scholarship that does consider the Candidate's chance of success at a highly selective graduate school as one of its criteria. Candidates are generally rank within the top 15% and often have GPAs of 3.8 or higher.
Are students participating in junior year abroad or five year degree programs eligible?
Yes. About one-quarter of recent Truman Scholars were off-campus in the fall of their junior year when they prepared their application. They worked closely with their Faculty Representative in the spring of the sophomore year while they were on campus and then relied on email, fax, phone, and/or regular mail during the fall. Students who are in five-year programs and spend time on more than one campus are also eligible to apply in their third year.
Is there a service requirement for the Truman Scholarship?
Scholars selected from 2005 on 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 Truman funds. Scholars who do not meet this service requirement, or who fail to provide timely proof to the Foundation of such employment, will be required to repay funds received along with interest. The Foundation will have an appeals process for special circumstances.
There has never been a Truman Scholar from my school. Do I have a chance?
Almost every year the Foundation selects 6 to 10 Scholars from schools that have never had a Truman Scholar.
Can a candidate apply more than once?
Unsuccessful candidates may not apply again.