2020-2021 Bulletin of Information
Announcing $30,000 Scholarships for College Students Who Want to Make a Difference
Deadline for receipt of nominations: February 2, 2021
About Us: The Truman Foundation
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 Scholarship: Awards and Programming
The Foundation provides:
- Up to $30,000 toward a public service-related graduate degree. The Foundation has supported Truman Scholars in many fields of study, from agriculture, biology, engineering, technology, medicine, and environmental management, to 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 group exercise about policy implementation, 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 required of all Scholars.
- Summer Institute. Immediately after college graduation, Scholars have the opportunity to participate in an eight-week Summer Institute in Washington, DC. The Foundation helps to arrange 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 in Washington, DC, for a full year in the Truman-Albright Fellows Program; Truman-Albright Fellows 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.
Guidelines & Eligibility: What Makes a Good Truman Scholar?
Each nominee for the Truman Scholarship must be:
- a full-time junior-level student at a four-year institution pursuing a bachelor's degree during the 2020-2021 academic year. 'Junior' here means a student who plans to continue full-time undergraduate study and who expects to receive a baccalaureate degree between December 2021 and August 2022, or a student in their third year of collegiate study who expects to graduate during the 2020-2021 academic year;
- nominated by the Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative at their institution;
- in the upper quarter of their class; and
- a United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa. Resident aliens (green card holders) are not eligible.
A good candidate for the Truman Scholarship meets the above eligibility requirements and also:
- has an extensive record of public and community service;
- has outstanding leadership potential and communication skills; and
- is committed to a career in government or elsewhere in public service, as defined by the Foundation.
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.
In 2021, one scholarship will be available to a qualified resident nominee in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and, considered as a single entity, the Islands: Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. (Residency is generally determined by home address for school registration, family's primary residence, and voter registration.) The Foundation may select up to 15 at-large Scholars in 2021.
The Nomination Procedure
- The Institution of Higher Education. 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 2021 awards. Four-year institutions may also nominate three additional students who completed academic work at another institution. Institutions may nominate candidates who are participating in junior year abroad programs. Participation by Two-Year institutions. Two-year institutions may nominate up to four former students who, by February 2, 2021, will be enrolled as full-time students with junior-level academic standing at accredited four-year institutions.
- The Truman Faculty Representative. The president of each participating institution appoints a Truman Faculty Representative who establishes a process to select the institution’s nominees. Candidates typically undergo an on-campus selection process to become one of the institution’s nominees. Faculty Representatives also help nominees prepare for the competition and submit the nomination materials to the Foundation by the specified deadline via our online application process. Interested persons should visit www.truman.gov to find a Faculty Representative at a particular institution or to obtain guidance on establishing a Faculty Representative at an institution.
- The application and nomination materials. Once a Faculty Representative has decided to nominate a student, they must log in to the Foundation website and complete a Nomination Form. The candidate will then receive an email from the Foundation with the instructions on how to access the online application. In the meantime, candidates may use the sample application on the website as a guide.
The complete nomination package must be submitted by February 2, 2021.
The Selection Process
1. The Finalists Selection Committee. A committee examines all nominations and selects about 200 Finalists to be interviewed for Truman Scholarships. Finalists are selected on the basis of:
- extent and quality of community service and government involvement;
- leadership record;
- academic performance, writing and analytical skills; and
- suitability of the nominee's proposed program of study for a career in public service.
2. The Regional Review Panels. Regional selection panels interview Finalists in March and early April, and select Truman Scholars largely on the basis of:
- leadership potential and communication skills;
- intellectual strength and analytical ability; and
- likelihood of 'making a difference' in public service.
If a Panel judges that none of the Finalists from a state adequately meets each of these criteria, it does not select any candidate from that state. The scholarship will be carried over to 2022 when two scholarships will be available to qualified residents.
Scholarship Conditions and Accountability
The award may be used only for tuition, fees, books, room and board, or other specifically approved expenses. Payments from the Foundation may be received to supplement, but not to duplicate, benefits from the educational institution or from other foundations, institutions, or organizations. The combined benefits from all sources may not exceed the costs of tuition, fees, books, and room and board as prescribed by the institution.
Scholars may defer, for up to four years, Foundation support for their graduate studies after completion of their undergraduate studies. Scholars in graduate study programs supported by other means and Scholars in the Armed Forces may request additional years of deferral.
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 will have an appeals process for those Scholars in special circumstances.
The Foundation may withhold or terminate a scholarship due to unsatisfactory academic performance or failure, as judged by the Foundation, to prepare specifically for a career in public service.
Special announcements, information regarding eligibility, a sample application form, and a listing of Faculty Representatives are available on the Foundation’s website.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
712 Jackson Place, NW
Washington, DC 20006