The Truman program is looking for the academically strong student who has a passion for public service. Evaluators look for leadership ability, potential for influencing public policies, community service and extracurricular activities, suitability of the applicant's proposed program of study for a career in public service, strong academic performance, and potential to perform well in a premier graduate school program. It awards $30,000 merit-based scholarships to college juniors who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in public service. Truman Scholars have pursued many fields of study, such as agriculture, engineering, economics, education, government, history, global studies, law, political science, public administration, and public health. Illinois may nominate up to 4 students for the Truman Scholarship with up to an additional 3 nominations of transfer students.
Scholars are required to work in public service for 3 of the 7 years following completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving funding.