The Harry S. Truman Scholarship


Juniors committed to careers in public service can apply for this scholarship.


November 30, 2016:  Intent to Apply Form due

January 9, 2017:  On-campus application deadline

January 2017:  On-campus interviews

12 Noon on January 27, 2017:  Final application materials due

Purpose, Funds, and Requirements

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 toward tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other approved expenses for graduate school or professional school in preparation for a career in public service. “Public service” here is quite broadly defined, and includes such diverse fields as biology, economics, and public health. See the website for more details. ( An award is deferrable for up to four years. This scholarship is restricted to U.S. citizens.

All recipients are required to work in public service for at least three of the seven years following completion of a Truman Foundation-funded graduate degree (the penalty for failure to do this is an obligation to repay funds received, with interest). But here again “public” is broadly construed, and includes government at any level, public interest organizations, NGOs, public and private schools, and many other organizations.

In addition to the funds for graduate school, scholars also attend the Truman Scholars Leadership Week, where they meet and work with distinguished Truman alumni and others, and are invited to attend the eight-week Summer Institute in Washington DC, which includes seminars, workshops, and meetings with policy makers. The Truman Foundation will also arrange internships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Candidates should have an extensive record of public and community service, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, and be committed to a career in public service. The application should trace a path that is authentic, and indicates passion for and depth of understanding of public service.

Application Process

Juniors who wish to apply for a Truman Scholarship should submit an Intent to Apply Form by November 30, 2016. Once you have submitted the form, the Office of Student Fellowships will register you at the Truman website. You will then receive an email message with login credentials and can access the application.

Between November 30, 2016 and the on-campus deadline of January 9, 2017, you should fill out the application on-line and submit your drafted materials to Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships. She can respond to what you have written, and send it back to you for revision if need be. There is no danger of you accidentally submitting a final version to the Truman Foundation, because only Marynel can do that.

To meet the on-campus deadline, you must do three things by 5:00pm on January 9, 2017:

  1. Email a PDF of your completed application (except for the letters of recommendation) to
  2. Request an electronic copy of your transcript from the Registrar and have it sent to; and
  3. Make sure your recommenders have submitted the three required letters of recommendation (each addressing a different aspect of your profile) to

Shortly after January 9, each applicant will be interviewed and up to four nominees may be chosen. Members of the interview committee will then work with the nominees to revise applications.  Final versions of the nominees’ applications must be uploaded by 12 Noon on January 27, 2017.  Marynel Ryan Van Zee will prepare the nomination and make the official submission to the Truman Foundation by their deadline.

Shortly thereafter, the Truman Finalist Selection Committee reviews all submitted applications and selects from those approximately 200 finalists. Regional Review Panels then interview each finalist and select the Truman Scholars. In most years, there will be one Truman Scholar from every state in the Union, plus a few additional “at large” selections.

Campus Representative

Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships, 131 Laird, x4300/mryanvanzee

Official Website

Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation