About the Program

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships to college students who have outstanding leadership potential, plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service, and wish to attend graduate school to help prepare for their careers. 55-65 scholarships will be awarded to outstanding college juniors across the country.


Each nominee for the Truman Scholarship must be:

  • A United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa, or expecting their citizenship by the date of the award;
  • Currently enrolled at a US-based accredited institution; 
  • In their penultimate year of school (for candidates graduating in four years or more) or in their final year of school (for candidates graduating in three years or fewer); 
  • Nominated by either their current institution of study or their former instutution of study for transfer or community college applicants. Schools are limited to four nominees plus three additional transfer nomination; and, 
  • Planning to attend graduate school in pursuit of a career in public service. The Foundation encourages time between undergraduate and graduate shool, so candidates need not committe to going immediately. 

An outstanding application, will among other things:

  • reveal unique and interesting aspects of the student;
  • show the student possess an extensive record of public service involvement;
  • provide evidence of leadership, initiative, and responsibility;
  • include a well-researched public policy analysis worthy of the officials to whom it is addressed.

Priority is given to those hoping to work in public service.

Application Procedures

The University of Puget Sound may nominate up to four students. All application materials must be submitted by the Fellowships Office following an internal competition. The application deadline is in December.

Persons interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship can visit the Truman Scholarship website. The next step is a visit to the Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships Office (Howarth 114J) where an Initial Interest Form is to be filed.

The Truman Scholarship is highly competitive. An applicant must meet all set deadlines --both on the University of Puget Sound campus and the scholarship's-- and is expected to work closely with the Fellowships Office.

An internal competition will determine those applications which are worthy of being forwarded to the District competition.

If granted an interview as a Truman Finalist, students will be asked probing questions that assess their intellectual strength, communication skills, and analytic abilities; understanding of public policy issues in their general fields and the roles of government in addressing these issues; commitment to public service; and the likelihood of making a difference. Mock Interviews will be held on the University of Puget Sound campus for all finalists.