Harry S. Truman Scholarships

Website: Truman Scholarship 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 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 Scholars 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 senior Truman Scholars, 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.
To be eligible for consideration, you must be:
  • a full-time junior-level student at a four-year institution pursuing a bachelor's degree during the 2023-2024 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 2024 and August 2025, or a student in their third year of collegiate study who expects to graduate during the 2023-2024 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.

A strong 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.

Student Type
  • junior
  • senior
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen

The Truman Scholarship program requires applicants to be nominated by their college/university. Each college/university can nominate up to 4 students each year, along with up to 3 additional nomination spots for students who have transferred from other schools.

The UW Campus Application & Nomination Procedure:

Please apply for UW nomination by completing our online application. The application will open on Sept. 11, 2023.

The online application includes these components:

  • Activities/Engagement sheet that includes the following areas:
    • College Activities
    • Public Service & Community Activities
    • Government Activities
    • Awards
    • Work & Internships
    • Additional Info
  • Several short-answer essay questions (word limits rage from 200-300 words for these short responses)
    • Identify and discuss a problem or need in society that motivates you to go into public service and that you are interested in working to alleviate in your career
    • Future plans for undergrad, gap years (if desired), graduate school, career goals and how those relate to the issues you care about
    • Describe and reflect on one important leadership experience and one important service experience
  • List of recommenders. You do not need to get recommendation letters at this stage. Instead, please provide a list of three to five individuals who you would ask to write, if nominated, and who could contribute details about the following areas :
    • your leadership potential
    • your commitment to public service
    • your intellect and prospects for continued academic success.
  • Unofficial transcripts


While many United States Presidents are immortalized in structures of bricks and mortar or marble, the memory of our 33rd President continues in a living memorial: the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

Dedicated to education and public service, President Truman often spoke about the importance of promoting young leaders, and envisioned a program for students that would encourage educated citizenship and political responsibility. Therefore, after his death in 1972, the President's friends and family found this memorial especially fitting.

John W. Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury during the President's Administration, and Stuart Symington, then Senator of Missouri, worked together to create the Foundation through an Act of Congress. Both lifelong friends of President Truman, Mr. Snyder and Mr. Symington also sought the approval of Margaret Truman Daniel, the President's daughter, who later said, no memorial could be more appropriate. Mrs. Daniel said her father valued education most highly, and he would surely value education for public service more highly than any other kind.

The bill passed in December 1974 and President Gerald Ford signed the Act of Congress on January 4, 1975. The Act authorized the Foundation to ?award scholarships to persons who demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service,? and to conduct a nationwide competition to select Truman scholars. The Foundation awarded its first Scholarships in the 1977-78 academic year.

The Foundation continues to expand, offering a range of opportunities for scholars. Truman Scholar Leadership Week began in May 1989, and summer 1991 marked the first Summer Institute. The first Public Service Law Conference was in 2002. The Truman Fellows Program is a new initiative for 2004 Truman Scholars.

Remarkably, President Truman did not hold a college degree, though he certainly grasped a worldly education. He once said, "Ignorance and its hand-maidens - prejudice, intolerance, suspicion of our fellow man - breed dictators and breed wars." The self-awareness and sincerity required of Truman Scholars, along with their education that the Foundation supports, eases the edge of ignorance that pervades our tumultuous world. Perhaps what is most important about President Truman's living memorial is that it continues to grow each year. 

Service Agreement

All Candidates should be aware that the Truman Scholarship has a service requirement. 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.

Contact Information

UW applicants and nominees are welcome to contact:

Robin Chang, Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
171 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352803, Seattle, WA 98195-2805
Phone: 206-543-2603
E-mail: robinc@uw.edu

Website: www.truman.gov