This award provides a year of funding for students pursuing graduate degrees in public service fields. College juniors who are U.S. citizens with a record of community service and a commitment to a career in public service are eligible. Public service includes government, uniformed services, public interest organizations, non-governmental research or educational organizations, public and private schools, and other public service-oriented, non-profit organizations.
Truman Scholar Stephanie Maldonado shares her experience in applying for the scholarship.
Two-Day Truman Information Event
Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Information session and discussion with former Truman Scholar held in 514 IUB
A recorded 2020 Truman Information Session can be viewed here.
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.
In order to access the online application, students must receive login credentials from the Illinois faculty representative, David Schug. To receive an application, please email him your following information:
Preferred email address
Anticipated graduation date
UIN (University Identification Number)
Students are encouraged to submit drafts of their online Truman Scholarship applications well in advance of the campus deadline in order to receive feedback from us. When submitted, the application comes directly to our office, and you'll still be able to make changes. After submitting the application online, send an email to our office with a few potential meeting times no earlier than 2 business days after your submission to receive feedback. We are willing to work with students through numerous revisions.
A complete Truman application, including 3 letters of recommendation, must be submitted to us in order to be considered for University of Illinois endorsement (a requirement to move forward in the competition). We will schedule interviews of short-listed candidates to be conducted within a few weeks of the application deadline. Based on your submittal, including grade reports that we will provide, and an interview, the committee will determine your endorsement.
A complete Truman Scholarship application including a policy proposal.
Endorsed Applicant Deadline
January 29, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)
Those students who have been endorsed will submit their final application packet online. They will also need to provide us with official transcripts from all colleges (including community colleges where you may have only taken 1 course and study abroad transcripts, unless both the grades and credits of all courses appear on your Illinois transcript). Your Illinois transcripts must include your fall semester grades.
The Final Stages
Finalists are posted on the Truman site in February. All finalists must complete the Finalist Confirmation Form by February 19, 2021. Then, finalist interviews are tentatively set for March in Chicago. Please see Regional Review Panels for more information. We will coordinate mock interviews for those students called to an interview. Students are announced on the Truman website as recipients, alternates, or non-awardees in early April.
Truman Website & Application
For official information on the Harry S. Truman Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please visit their website.