The Harry S. Truman Scholarship award is the nation's most prestigious domestic award for undergraduate students. The Truman Foundation recognizes college juniors with leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit advocacy sectors, education, or elsewhere in public service by providing them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training and fellowship with other students. Truman finalists are selected based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. Recipients have the opportunity to interact with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service. Most Truman Scholars seek juris doctors or master's and doctoral degrees in public administration, public policy, public health, international relations, government, economics, social services, education, urban planning, conservation and environmental protection. Some Scholars have pursued medical, physical science or even business degrees - but those Scholars were able to clearly demonstrate how these degrees would further their careers in public service.  Scholars who are proposing multiple degrees will need to clearly state the case for why all degrees are needed to pursue their career in public service.

What is the Truman Scholarship?

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is more than just financial assistance; on their website you'll find information about the programs they offer to help Truman Scholars be the best public servants possible. 
The application process begins the junior year and the scholarship offers:

  • Enhanced access to highly competitive graduate institutions 
  • Access to Scholar programs such as Truman Scholars Leadership Week, the Summer Institute, and various Truman Fellows Programs
  • Membership in a community of persons devoted to helping others and to improving the world
  • Up to $30,000 to apply toward graduate study in the U.S. or abroad in a wide variety of fields
  • Additional Scholar Benefits | The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Key Details

How do students apply for the Truman Scholarship?

Students must be nominated by their institution in a process conducted by the Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative.  Please contact Dr. Brenda Tooley to indicate your interest in the Truman Scholarship and to prepare to take the next steps in the application process.

Who are the Truman Scholars?

They are persons who have been recognized by the Truman Scholarship Foundation as future "change agents."  They have the passion, intellect, and leadership potential that in time should enable them to improve the ways that public entities - be they government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public and private educational institutions, or advocacy organizations - serve the public good.

Who is eligible to receive a Truman Scholarship?

U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals who are college or university students with junior-level academic standing and who wish to attend professional or graduate school to prepare for careers in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors where they will improve the ways these institutions work.  

Helpful Links

Important Dates

What is the deadline for the annual Truman competition?

Applications are due, by 11:59 pm in your time zone, on the first Tuesday in February.  GVSU has an internal deadline of December 1 (after this internal review and with feedback you receive you will continue to develop your application over the winter break and throughout January).

  • Up to November 1:  Contact the Office of Fellowships at Grand Valley to be interviewed about your interest in the Truman Scholarship and (almost certainly) to receive the initial nomination from Grand Valley, which then enables you to access the Truman application system.
  • December 1: Complete the application requirements for the internal Grand Valley review. A short zoom interview with a small faculty committee occurs in December. You will receive feedback on your essays so that you can continue to work on them.
  • Mid-January: Thorough review of your application in collaboration with Dr. Tooley (to be sure that your essays are progressing well, that your three letters of recommendation have been requested and are ready for upload by Dr. Tooley, who should receive the letters in PDF form from your recommenders, that you have given Dr. Tooley the official transcripts she will upload on your behalf, and that the information you have provided about your leadership activities and awards is clear and accurate).
  • Early February: the External Deadline is the first Tuesday in February. You will want to complete the application and click the ‘Send Application to Faculty Rep for Review” box by the end of January / start of February (it’s best not to delay to the official deadline as the online system becomes overburdened).

GVSU Harry S. Truman Scholarship Information

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Page last modified March 14, 2022