Truman Scholarship*

Gustavus Fellowships Office

Initial Gustavus Deadline: December 4, 2009 (noon)
Campus Interview: December 11, 2009
Gustavus Final Deadline: January 28, 2010 (noon)
Web site:
Campus Contact: Alisa Rosenthal, Fellowships Coordinator


The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is the federal memorial to our thirty-third President. The mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is: (1) to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and (2) to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service. The Foundation has supported Truman Scholars in many fields of study, including agriculture, biology, engineering, environmental management, physical and social sciences, and technology policy, as well as traditional fields such as economics, education, government, history, international relations, law, political science, public administration, nonprofit management, public health, and public policy.

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 such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.


The Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 in merit-based funding to students pursuing graduate degrees in public service fields. The Foundation also provides assistance with career counseling, internship placement, graduate school admissions, and professional development. Scholars are invited to participate in a number of programs: Truman Scholar Leadership Week, The Summer Institute, The Truman Fellows Program, and the Public Service Law Conference. Each year, the Foundation reviews over 600 applications for 60 to 65 Scholarships awarded annually. The Foundation tries to select at least one Truman Scholar each year from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Islands.


Each nominee for the Truman Scholarship must be:

  • A full-time junior-level student at a four-year institution pursuing a bachelor’s degree during the 2009-2010 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 2010 and August 2010, or a student in his or her third year of collegiate study who expects to graduate during the 2009-2010 academic year, or a senior-level student who is a resident of Puerto Rico or the Islands;
  • Nominated by the Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative at his or her institution;
  • In the upper quarter of his or her class; and
  • An United States citizen or an United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Resident aliens (green card holders) are not eligible.

A good 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.

Service Requirement

All candidates should be aware that the Truman Scholarship has a newly instituted 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.

Gustavus’ Internal Selection Process

Interested students should contact the Gustavus Fellowships Office and request that they be registered in the Truman on-line system. Once registration is complete, students will receive an email with log-in instructions.

The College is allowed to nominate up to four Gustavus students annually for the Truman Scholarship. The Selection Committee will review the materials listed below, and those applicants deemed competitive will be scheduled for an interview. To be considered, applicants must bring five collated packets of the following materials to the Gustavus Fellowships Office by the INITIAL GUSTAVUS DEADLINE (see above). Based on these materials and the interview, the Committee will decide which students will receive Gustavus’ nomination.

  • Printout of completed questions 1 – 14 of the on-line Truman Application
  • Policy Proposal (approximately 500 words)
  • Unofficial transcript (print off of WebAdvisor)
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of recommendation

Materials for Final Consideration

If you receive Gustavus’ nomination, it is your responsibility to continue revising and collecting your materials. By the FINAL GUSTAVUS DEADLINE, nominees must electronically submit:

  • A completed application form, which includes:
  • Policy proposal (approximately 500 words)
  • Official Transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation

The Gustavus Fellowships Office will be responsible for submitting the following:

  • An Institution Nomination Form, which will be generated by responses of the Faculty Representative during the nomination process.
  • A Faculty Representative Nomination Letter, which will be uploaded and submitted along with the application.

More about the Selection Process

On February 17, 2010, the Foundation will post a list of finalists on their Web site. Finalist interviews will be held in various locations around the country between March 2 and March 20, 2010; the names of the 2010 Truman Scholars will be posted on the Foundation’s Web site on March 26, 2010.

Please note that applicants are responsible for all photocopying needed for the internal selection process and as required by the foundation.

*Information derived from