Scholars are required to file three types of reports:
- Annual Reports: Beginning in year of selection until final payment is received, Scholars are required to file a yearly update with the Foundation. Due July 15.
- Graduate Proposals: An approved proposal is required before funding can be released. Due the December before you plan to return to graduate school.
- Employment Reports: After graduate school, Scholars must file an employment report until they have three total years of work in public service. Due July 15.
By statute, Truman Scholars are required to submit reports annually to the Foundation if they expect to receive support in the coming year or have deferred Foundation support and expect to receive it in future years. The reports keep the Foundation up-to-date on Scholars' activities, accomplishments, and interests in public service. The Foundation protects sensitive or confidential information in the reports.
A typed report in the form of a 600-1000 word carefully prepared letter to the Executive Secretary should be entered into the Foundation's website by July 15. It should contain the following:
- Reflections on growth and development during the past year;
- Public service and community activities and, if enrolled, school activities over the past 12 months;
- Plans for the coming year (including education emphasis and major courses to be taken in the coming school year if enrollment expected);
- Full-time, part-time or summer employment;
- Current career and public service interests and ambitions;
- Other items of interest (receipt of fellowships, publications, awards, travel).
Remember to include your name, year and state of selection, cell phone number, as well as current and permanent email addresses on all Scholar reports.
Any Scholar who is nearing the end of their four years of automatic deferral should include a separate section of the annual report that includes the Scholars' request for additional years of deferral. In requesting extended deferral, Scholars should be sure to explain their continuing commitments to public service leadership. These requests will be considered and responded to by the Executive Secretary.
Please keep in mind that the main purpose of annual reports is for Scholars to fulfill a reporting requirement stipulated in the Foundation's statute. The Executive Secretary provides a personal response to some (but certainly not all) annual reports via email, and it requires the Executive Secretary several months to read the many hundreds of reports that are submitted each year. For any pressing questions or for more immediate advice/feedback, Truman Scholars should be in direct touch with Dr. Babcock-Lumish, the Foundation's Executive Secretary.
Graduate School Proposal
Before choosing a graduate or professional school, you should know: in what area(s) you wish to concentrate; the most appropriate schools for these studies; the main faculty under whom you want to study; the environment in which you feel comfortable and perform well; and the desired public service employment upon completion of graduate study.
The Truman Foundation wants to be helpful as you figure out the right path and the right graduate school. You are encouraged to stay in regular contact, via email, phone, and in-person meetings with the Executive Secretary, about your graduate school plans. In the late fall of the year before you intend to begin graduate school, you should prepare and submit a detailed proposal for graduate study and receive written approval from the Foundation. The field of study and career interests may differ from the original proposal for a Truman Scholarship.
The proposal should be submitted through our website (not emailed to a specific staff member) no later than December 1 prior to the year the Scholar plans to commence graduate studies supported by the Foundation. Proposals received and approved late may not be eligible for immediate fall semester funding. Often, proposals are returned for additional work.
Contents of the Proposal
The proposal should include the following information:
- Your name, full contact information, the degree sought, degree length (e.g. 2 years), and the institution(s) to which you are applying.
- A narrative that outlines the specific problems or needs of society you want to address and how you expect to address them in the three to five years following graduate school;
- Type(s) of employment you plan to seek immediately upon completing your graduate studies and what you expect to seek three to five years later;
- Your proposed graduate school curriculum and why this curriculum is appropriate for addressing the problems or needs and attaining the positions you seek;
- Your scores from standardized tests for graduate school, for example, GRE results;
- Your first choice for a graduate school and why this would be the best place to achieve your public service ambitions. If this is an optimistic choice, your back up schools and why these would be appropriate choices;
- Percent of recent graduates of the first choice program who are now employed in the public service; and,
- The types of summer jobs, part time jobs and/or internships you expect to seek to complement your graduate studies.
Important Reminders About Graduate Study Proposals
Given the timing, most Scholars will write their graduate school proposal before learning of their acceptance. The proposal should be written about a Scholar's first choice of program, but additional programs to which they have applied should be included in the proposal. If the first choice of program is very optimistic, the Scholar should include additional information about their second choice program. If there is a significant difference in program of study from the first choice to the second (e.g. master's degrees in different, but related subjects), that information should be included as well.
Should Scholars need to change any aspect of their graduate school proposal after it is approved, the changes must be submitted in writing to the Foundation's website, and you should notify the Foundation's Executive Secretary, Dr. Babcock-Lumish, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Minor changes in program or institution can generally be approved within a few working days. More significant changes, such as a total change in program or a request for drastically different funding, may take longer to approve and may require additional documentation.
All Scholars must submit a graduate study proposal, receive written approval from the Executive Secretary and meet the requirements of Section 1801.51 before funding for graduate study will be available. [Requirements are set out in the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation's Rules and regulations, 45CFR Part 1801. Section 1801.51 refers to the required submission of Payment Request Form, Educational Expenses and Support Form, and Direct Deposit/EFT Form.]
Scholars who are proposing study in an MBA program must include the following information in order to be considered for the full amount of their graduate stipend:
- Whether their program has a formal track specifically targeted toward employment in government or the non-profit sector. If the program has a formal public service track, Scholars must explain how they will participate in that track.
- If the selected program does not have a formal public service track, the Scholar must identify why they have selected that program in the absence of a formal public service track. Scholars should also explain, in detail how they would develop a public service focused program using existing resources.
- Whether Scholars intend to supplement their degree with another degree or program funded from other sources.
Visiting Graduate Schools
We strongly encourage you to visit the graduate institution you plan to attend before making a final commitment.
Some Things to Look for When Visiting a Prospective Graduate Institution:
- The priorities of the program in such terms as subject matter, types of students sought, and types of career placements emphasized;
- Average GRE (or equivalent) scores;
- Diversity among the student body;
- Public service placement success: Percent of recent graduates currently in public service jobs and percent of graduates in the last year who received one or more job offers in the public service. Percent of students receiving paying internships and summer jobs during their graduate study. Number of recent graduates who have obtained the type of position(s) you seek;
- Merit-based aid and loan forgiveness programs in the event the Truman award does not cover all expenses;
- Research funds available to students in your field of interest;
- Practitioners and public service leaders who have spoken on the campus or served as adjunct faculty during the past year;
- Teaching schedules and graduate student access to the faculty of interest to you and the availability of the courses you wish to take; and,
- Experiences of Truman Scholars attending the institution.
Upon completion of a Foundation funded graduate program, Scholars will be asked to complete a brief Employment Status Report. The report should be filed by July 15th of each year. Scholars should complete their first report the July after they leave graduate school. In order to complete the report, please:
- Log in to the website. You can upload your report from the "Scholar Reporting" link on the right hand side of your dashboard.
- Select "Employment Report" as the report type.
- List your name, year and state of selection, cell phone number, and current email at the top of the report.
- Please write a brief description of your current employment that includes whether it is public or private sector, the name of your employer, and a brief explanation of your job. How much detail you need to include will depend on how clear it is that you are currently working in public service.
- If you are not currently employed, please briefly describe your activities since graduation. A sentence or two is fine.
- Click the submit button to save your report.
- Once you have submitted three years of reports with public service employment, you need not file additional reports.
All Scholars selected after 2005 are subject to the Foundation's Accountability Policy. This policy was instituted both to provide clearer expectations to Scholars and bring the Foundation in line with other federal scholarship programs. The policy requires Scholars to work for three of the seven years after a Foundation funded graduate program in public service.
Scholars will be asked to submit an Employment Status report, by July 15th of each year, beginning with the July after they complete their Foundation funded graduate school education. After the reporting deadline, Scholars who have failed to file a report will be contacted by email. Scholars who fail to file a report for two consecutive years will be considered to be in violation of the Accountability Policy and may be tracked through more aggressive means.
Scholars who are entering their fourth year of private sector employment will receive a warning email that reminds them of the service requirement and discusses their options should they fail to meet the service requirement. Once a Scholar enters their fifth year of private sector employment, the Foundation will send an email and a certified letter requesting payment in full of the amount of funding the Scholar received. A certain date will be included in the letter by which the Scholar must contact the Foundation to arrange payment. Should a Scholar be unable or unwilling to arrange payment by that date, the Foundation will refer the matter to the General Services Administration for recovery.
The Accountability Policy does provide the possibly of waiver or reduction of repayment obligations in cases of extreme financial hardship. Scholars in this situation should make the Foundation aware of the details of their hardship at the earliest possible opportunity.
There will be two different avenues of appeal. First, in the event that a Scholar designates their employment as public sector and the Foundation disagrees, the Scholar may appeal, in writing, to the Executive Secretary. The Executive Secretary has 30 days from receipt of the appeal to respond. Should that appeal be unsuccessful, the matter should be referred to the Foundation Legal Counsel for decision. If the Scholar is ultimately unsuccessful, they will have the opportunity to re-visit the issue before the full appeals board should the Scholar ultimately fail to meet the service requirement.
The second point of appeal would be for those Scholars who have not fulfilled their service requirement. These Scholars can file written appeal to the Executive Secretary within 30 days of the Foundation's decision. If the Executive Secretary agrees with the Foundation's decision, the Scholar has three months to file written appeal to the Appeals Panel. If a Scholar appears before the Appeals Panel, they must execute a waiver of file confidentiality so the Appeals Panel can look at the Scholar file.
The Appeals Panel shall consist of three members appointed by the Executive Secretary with the advice and consent of the Board of Trustees. Members of Foundation staff and the Board of Trustees are ineligible to serve on the appeals panel. At least one member of the Panel will be an alumni of the Truman program. The Foundation's Financial Desk Officer will act as a liaison to the Appeals Panel to maintain custody of the Scholar file and be available should procedural questions arise.
FAQ Accountability Policy
The Service Requirement:
What if a Scholar takes time off to raise a family or care for a friend or family member?
Scholars who are raising a family or caring for a friend or family member should indicate that they are acting as a caregiver in their Employment Status report. The Foundation will not count such time against the Scholar. The waiver requirement in the Accountability provision is intended to provide the Foundation sufficient flexibility to accommodate these situations. Scholars acting as caregivers will still need to file annual Employment Status reports.
What about part-time public service employment?
Whether, or how, part-time employment counts toward the service requirement is very fact dependent. While the intent of the requirement is that Scholars would be employed full-time as public servants, the Foundation understands that some Scholars may occupy part-time positions. The Foundation will decide such cases as they arise. Generally, the Foundation may require additional years of reporting or documentation of other public service activities to fulfill the service requirement.
Does employment before graduate school count toward the service requirement?
No. While the Foundation encourages Scholars to spend time in public service before continuing to graduate school, that service occurs before the Scholar receives their educational stipend from the Foundation. The Foundation's purpose, and the intent of the accountability policy, is to encourage a public service career after a Scholar completes their Foundation-funded graduate education. This purpose is best achieved by focusing only on employment in the public service after graduate school.
Why does the Foundation require three years of public service employment in the first seven years after graduate school?
The Task Force on Scholar Accountability examined various public service career paths and discussed alternatives with Scholars, members of the Board of Trustees, and Foundation staff. The Task Force believed that the accountability policy should provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate a Scholar who needed a period of private sector employment to pay off debt or gain experience, who required time away from employment for family or other reasons, or who wished to change careers. The Task Force recommended these periods of required public service as a way to provide that flexibility.
Who determines whether employment is public or private sector?
It is up to the Scholar to make the initial determination whether their employment is public or private sector. Once a report is filed, the Foundation will review the responses, and follow up as appropriate. Scholars may be asked to provide additional information to support their designation of public or private sector. Any disputed case will be decided by the Executive Secretary. A Scholar will be notified of the decision and given time to appeal to an Appeals Committee made up of non-Foundation staff.
I will be taking a fixed term position after graduate school (e.g. working as a law clerk, completing a post-graduate fellowship). How should I indicate that on my form?
The Foundation does not distinguish from positions of a fixed-term, like clerkships, and other full-time employment. If your employment fits within the definition of public service listed above, select public service.
My school requires a period of residency, externship, or fellowship after graduation. How should I indicate that on the report?
If your residency, externship, or fellowship is considered employment (and is not class-bound or dissertation-related), please fill out the form as you would for employment. Medical students should begin filing reports as soon as their period of residency begins. The Foundation is aware that there may be limited choice of residency appointments and understand that Scholars may be placed in private sector appointments that are not of their choosing. In that case, the Foundation will extend the period of reporting to allow the Scholar to fulfill the service requirement.
I am continuing with my schooling, should I submit a report?
If you are continuing with school and not using Foundation funds, you should file a report indicating that you are still in school. You will need to file reports until you have satisfied your service requirement.
I am not employed. What should I include in my report?
Explain the situation in limited detail (e.g. "Acting as a caregiver and not working outside of the home.") and provide a sense of the time frame during which you will not be employed. The Foundation will review your situation and act accordingly. If you are not employed, the Foundation will not make any attempt to collect funds from you.