FAQ - Scholars

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General Information:
 
I don't know if I am ready to go to graduate school.  What is the Foundation's policy on deferral?
Scholars are encouraged to take some time between undergraduate and graduate school.  All Scholars are given four years of automatic deferral beginning when the Scholar graduates.  This period can be extended either by: 1) attending another graduate program that does not require Foundation funding (example:  A Scholar graduates in 2020 can defer until 2024.  If he or she is awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and takes the two years between 2020 and 2022 to earn an MPhil, the Scholar would now have an automatic deferral until 2016); or, 2) special request to the Foundation's Executive Secretary.
 
I'm nearing the end of my four years of deferral but I still don't want to go to graduate school.  What should I do?
Scholars can request additional years of deferral.  These requests are often granted if the Scholar is in the armed services, presently works in the public sector, or has extenuating personal circumstances that would make returning to graduate school difficult.  Requests for additional years of deferral should be included in the Scholar's annual report.
 
How does the service requirement affect my Truman funds?
As a condition of receiving Truman funds, you are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Foundation funded graduate degree program.  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. 
 
Is any portion of my scholarship taxable?  For specific information about any tax questions, consult a tax professional.  Generally, only the portion of the Truman which you use for room & board is taxable.  Since the Scholar is responsible for paying his or her institution - and only the Scholar knows whether the funds are ultimately used for room & board - we do not issue 1099s.  Please refer to the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Topic 421 for additional guidance and details.  
 
Reporting Questions
 
I started receiving Foundation funding.  Do I still need to file an annual report?
Yes.  You need to file an annual report for each calendar year that you receive Foundation funding.  If your last payment was in Fall of 2020, your last annual report would be filed in July 2020.  If your last payment was in Spring of 2021, your last annual report will be filed in July 2021.
 
Who can see my annual report?  How long are they kept?
Only Foundation staff can see your annual report.  In general, only the Executive Secretary will read your annual report (although other staff members may need to access it in order to confirm it was filed in a timely fashion).  No one else is permitted to view annual reports.  Reports are retained until a Scholar has completed his or her service requirement.  At that point, the reports are erased from our system.  Hard copies may be retained, but are not accessed by anyone but Foundation personnel and are destroyed in accordance with our records procedures.
 
When do I have to submit my Graduate School Proposal?
Graduate School Proposals should be uploaded to the website no later than December 1 of the year prior to the year in which graduate study will begin.  For example:  A Scholar plans to enter graduate school in the Fall of 2020.  He or she should have submitted a graduate school proposal in December of 2019.
 
I am not sure if I plan to attend graduate school.  Should I still file a proposal?
Yes.  The Foundation can defer funding if you elect not to attend graduate school in the following fall.  The Foundation cannot release funding if a Graduate Proposal was never filed or was filed late.
 
I am considering many schools.  How should I write my proposal?
Write the proposal for your top two or three schools.  You can include any remaining schools in a list at the end of the proposal.
 
I have an approved proposal, but I have changed something.  What should I do?
If the change to your proposal is minor - you plan on the same degree program but have selected another school - that is unlikely to impact the status of your proposal.  You should notify Dr. Rich as soon as you discover your need to alter your proposal.
 
Payment Information
 
How much money am I eligible to receive for graduate school?  
Truman Scholars selected in 2005 and subsequent years are eligible to receive up to $15,000 for the first year of graduate study, and $15,000 for their final year of graduate study. If you have generous financial aid from your institution or other sources, an alternative payment plan is available upon written request.  Please explain any additional sources of funding in your Graduate School Proposal.
 
What does the Truman Scholarship cover?  
The Truman Scholarship covers your actual expenses for tuition and required fees, your average expenses for room and board, and up to $1000 per year for books.  The Foundation cannot duplicate funding from other sources (i.e. school scholarships, grants and fellowships).  The Foundation bylaws dictate that we cannot pay for laptop computers, travel, airfare, or office supplies.
 
What costs can I include under additional expenses?
Additional expenses may include your utilities (which should not be included under "Room and Board"), any "non-mandatory" health insurance, transportation costs, and any other personal costs except air travel.  If you have undesignated aid from another source—meaning the source does not specify how the support should be used—this aid may be used to cover your additional expenses. You may then be eligible to receive more of your Truman funding.
 
Is there a deadline for submitting my Payment Request and Educational Expenses and Support Forms to the Foundation?
Yes.  They must be submitted before the term ends (December 15 for the fall term, May 15 for the spring term).  The earliest the transfer of funding will be made is three weeks prior to the start of the term.
 
How do I number my Payment Requests?
The Foundation issues each Scholar a maximum of three payments per year; therefore, if you attend an institution that is on a semester system, you should number the first payment 1 of 2 and the second 2 of 2.  If your institution is on a trimester or quarter system, you should number the payments 1 of 3, 2 of 3, and 3 of 3.
 
How will the Foundation disburse my funds?
The Foundation is authorized to grant funds to meet a Scholar's educational expenses as determined by our federal formula, up to but not exceeding his/her allotment of funds for the academic year.  The Foundation will pay as much of the eligible expenses at the time the first term's request is processed, rather than dividing the year's funds into equal term allotments.  You may receive all of a year's funding in a single term if your eligible expenses for the term are equal to or exceed your annual allotment.  The Foundation will pro-rate your funds ONLY if you submit a request in writing.
 
Can the Payment Request and Educational Expenses and Support Forms be faxed or emailed to the Foundation?
Yes.  We can accept all forms either via fax (202.395.6995) or email (office@truman.gov).  You can mail the forms as well, but please do not use any mail service other than regular US Mail.  Requiring signature confirmation or sending the materials using expedited services may actually result in your documents being delayed.  
 
Where will the funds be deposited?
Your Truman Scholarship funds will be directly deposited in your bank account.  In order to ensure that we have the most updated information, you must fill out the Direct Deposit Form.  You are responsible for paying your institution.  The U.S. Treasury issues all Scholar payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) directly to the Scholar's bank account.  The Truman Foundation cannot authorize payments to any other party
 
How long will it take to receive my funds?   Once all of the required forms (Educational Expenses and Support Form, Payment Request Form, transcript, Annual Report and Graduate Study Proposal, current EFT—when applicable) have been received at the Foundation, it takes a minimum of 6 weeks for your funds to be deposited.  Although early receipt of required paperwork is helpful, please remember that the Foundation cannot transfer funds more than 3 weeks prior to the start of classes without written approval from the Executive Secretary.
 
What should I do when I want to take extra credits/summer school?
Your Educational Expenses and Support Form lists the average cost for the academic year as determined by your Financial Aid Office.  If you think that you will be taking extra credits, please notify the Financial Aid Office so that the costs for these additional classes can be incorporated in the figures on your form.  Summer is the first term of the academic year.  You will not be able to “use up” funding from the academic year in the following summer.  Funding you receive for summer study is deducted from the total amount of funding you are eligible to receive during the following fall and spring terms of that academic year.
 
What should I do when I drop a class after I have received payment for the term from the Foundation?
You should notify the Foundation about any changes immediately, especially if this means a change in your status (i.e. from full-time to part-time student).  If a refund is due to the Foundation, you have the option of either sending a check (payable to the Harry S. Truman Memorial Trust Fund) OR you may request that the amount of the overpayment be deducted from your next term's disbursement.
 
Can I access unused funds from a previous academic year to meet my educational expenses for the current academic year?
No.  The Truman Scholarship does not function like a checking account.  A Scholar cannot carry over the “balance” of unused funds to the next year, even if his/her expenses increase.
 
I am studying abroad, what currency do I use to fill in the Payment Request Form?  
The Educational Expenses and Support Form should be completed in foreign currency. Complete the Payment Request form in the foreign currency until step 13c.  Conversions will be done by the foundation on step 13d.  Transfer of funding can only be made to domestic bank accounts.