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The Scholarship

The Truman Scholarship is meant to celebrate and prepare the nation's next generation of public service leaders. Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate school as well as access to extensive Scholar programming, priority admission and financial support from public service graduate programs, advising and mentoring from other public service leaders, and preferred hiring with the federal government.

The Criteria

We are looking for the next generation of public service leaders. The ideal candidate will demonstrate:

  • Leadership: We consider leadership to be more than merely occupying a position of leadership. Truman Scholars either use their leadership position in unique ways or create opportunities for leadership where none existed.
  • Commitment to a Career in Public Service: Truman Scholars have a lengthy record of service as well as detailed and ambitious plans for a future career as a leader in their area of interest.
  • Likelihood of Success in Graduate School:¬†We are less interested in a perfect academic record than we are in seeing a Truman Scholar who is intellectually curious and on track to succeed in their graduate program of choice.

A scholarship I won my junior year in college provided me with grad school funding, my first job, best friends, and an endless supply of laughter and inspiration. The Truman changed my life and the community ignited my ambition and centered public service in my academic life.

Marcia Chatelain, 2000 Scholar from Illinois
Professor and Pulitzer-Prize Winning Historian

The Process

Candidates must secure the nomination of their undergraduate institution. Once nominated, they must complete a lengthy application and policy proposal as well as provide three letters of recommendation and transcripts. Applications are reviewed by the Foundation's Finalist Selection Committee based on the candidate's state of legal residence. The top candidates are invited to interview with our Regional Review Panels in locations across the country. Scholars are selected based on leadership ability, commitment to a career in public service and likelihood of success in graduate school.

The application is extensive and the process can be daunting. The Truman Foundation is committed to demystifying the process of applying while also making the process as accessible as possible. Detailed information on all aspects of the process is included in this section. All material, including information for Advisors and Finalists, is available to everyone.

Ready to get started?

All the information - requirements, dates, a sample application - you should consider before applying.

Before Applying