Truman Scholarship


Harry Truman Logo



The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation honors the thirty-third president of the United States and his dedication to education and public service.  John W. Snyder and Stuart Symington, both government officials and close friends of Truman during his lifetime, collaborated with the approval of Margaret Truman Daniel, the President's daughter, to create the Foundation through an act of Congress.  The bill passed in December 1974 and was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on January 4, 1975, authorizing the Foundation to award scholarships to individuals who plan to pursue a career in public service and who demonstrate outstanding potential.  The Foundation awarded the first Truman Scholarships during the 1977-1978 academic year.  The Foundation has continuously expanded its scholarship opportunities and now offers a range of programs for its Scholars.  Despite changes to the Foundation over time, the Truman Scholarship remains proudly committed to the vision of its founding Board of Trustees, seeking to support and encourage the future of public service leadership in the United States through education.


The Truman Foundation awards scholarships to college juniors who have identified concerns about the environment or about conditions in American society and who hope to improve these conditions through a career in government, education, the nonprofit sector, or the public interest or advocacy sector.  Applicants should have extensive participation in activities which demonstrate their interest in and commitment to public service and/or a career in government, including student government; community service activities not organized by a school, fraternity, or sorority; government internships; participation in partisan or non-partisan political activities; experience with advocacy or interest groups; military organizations including ROTC; and others.  Applicants should have demonstrated their leadership potential throughout their academic and extracurricular pursuits.  Also, applicants should have sufficiently strong grades and coursework that would enable them to be admitted to a first-rate graduate institution.

Each year, between fifty-five and sixty-five scholarship recipients are selected from approximately six hundred applications.  The Foundation attempts to have at least one Truman Scholar from each state as well as from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands, but prioritizes awarding scholarships to the best candidates.

award stipend and benefits

Award recipients receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school.  The award can be used to cover the costs of tuition, room and board, books up to $1,000, and mandatory fees.  Award recipients also attend the Truman Scholars Leadership Week, which includes informational sessions on graduate education and on different paths to public service, group policy projects on a topic which interests the Scholar to be presented to a panel of experts, community service projects, and more.  Additionally, recipients participate in leadership development opportunities and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.  

program and eligibility requirements 

There is no minimum GPA required to apply for this scholarship.  Grades are an important component to the application, but the Foundation is more interested in applicants whose transcripts include challenging coursework and who demonstrate commitment to community and public coursework.  The Foundation will consider an applicant's academic performance in light of the graduate school plan which the applicant proposes.  Other program and eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicants must be at least a junior in college as defined by their graduation date.  
  • Applicants who have completed an undergraduate are eligible.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university to apply.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens to apply , with the exception of individuals from the Pacific Islands who are U.S. nationals or permanent residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Advisors must submit on behalf of the candidate.  Candidates may not submit their application directly to the Foundation.
  • Candidates compete according to their state of permanent residence as determined by two of the three following items: home address for school registration; parent's home address; and place of registration to vote.  The Foundation will consider other factors if an applicant is unable to meet two of these criteria.
  • Candidates who receive interviews will travel to the city assigned for their Regional Review panel to be interviewed with other finalists from their region.  Candidates are responsible for covering the travel costs associated with the interview and must be interviewed in person at the panel.  Each finalist will be assigned a time for their interview by the Foundation; if a finalist has particular time constraints due to travel arrangements, the faculty representative may make a request for a particular time to the Foundation, which will be honored if possible.  For more information about what to expect from the interview and how to prepare, visit the Truman Foundation's website.
  • Candidates are still eligible for a Truman Scholarship if they change their graduate school plan provided that they still intend to pursue a degree to further a career in public service.
  • Applicants who are considering taking time off between the completion of their undergraduate degree and the start of their graduate education are still eligible to apply.  Scholars have four years of deferral upon request.  The Foundation encourages all award recipients to defer the award for at least one year.
  • A candidate who has been awarded a Truman Scholarship and another graduate fellowship may defer the Truman Scholarship or use it in conjunction with another award, though an individual may not receive more funds than the total cost of the education as stipulated by the institution.  Some scholarships have conditions determining whether they may be used in conjunction with a Truman Scholarship.  

Application instructions

Each institution first selects its nominees according to a procedure determined by the faculty representative.  The application for the Truman Scholarship opens in early August and closes on the first Tuesday in February.  The Truman Finalist Selection Committee will review all applications and select approximately two hundred applicants as finalists by late February.  A series of Regional Review Panels will conduct interviews throughout March and April and select the Truman Scholars.  Award recipients will be notified in mid-April.  

University contact information

Interested students should contact Kent State University's Truman Scholarship advisor Frank Congin at with any questions.  

Please check back in future months for Kent State's internal deadline process.