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.

Truman Information Sessions

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2024 from 3:30-4:30 pm. Truman Information Session held in 514 IUB

Friday, Sept. 27, 2024 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. CST. Truman Online Session.  Register in advance here.

Friday, Sept. 27, 2024 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Workshop on how to craft a Truman Application held in 514 IUB

What They're Looking For

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.

Getting Started

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 the following information:

  1. A preferred e-mail address for all Truman correspondence
  2. Your preferred first name you would like to be addressed as at a Truman interview, your middle initial, and your last name
  3. UIN (University Identification Number)

Students are encouraged to submit drafts of their Truman Scholarship application online 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 will still be able to make changes after we review it. 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.

Required Campus Deadline

November 4, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

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 submission, including grade reports that we will provide, and an interview, the committee will determine your endorsement.

Required information includes:

  1. A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hardcopy).
  2. Three Truman Letters of Recommendation (letters should address the range of criteria requested for a Truman Scholarship). You need to provide each referee with the appropriate downloaded reference form from the Sample Application Forms section of the Truman website. Letters should be sent as attachments directly to us at
  3. A complete Truman Scholarship application including a policy proposal.
Endorsed Applicant Deadline

January 30, 2025 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 and all finalists must complete a Finalist Confirmation Form. In-person finalist interviews take place in March. 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 mid-April.

Truman Website & Application

Visit our Canvas page for additional tips and samples of winning applications.

For official information on the Harry S. Truman Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please visit their website.