UW-Madison deadline: November 25, 2024 
Foundation deadline:
February 7, 2025 11:59 p.m. CT

*Candidates must be nominated by UW–Madison and may not apply directly. Students interested in applying should contact the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office for more information about the application process. Contact: 608-265-2428,


The Truman foundation supports graduate study for college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to “making a difference” through public service in government, education, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, or elsewhere in the public service. Approximately 60-65 scholarships are awarded each year.


The scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study leading to a career in public service, and offers students assistance in applying to graduate school, in addition to networking and internship opportunities. As a condition of receiving Truman funds, scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of their degree program.


  • US Citizens, US National residents of 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 institution of study for transfer or community college applicants. Schools are limited to four nominees plus three additional transfer nominations; and,
  • Planning to attend graduate school in pursuit of a career in public service.* The Foundation encourages time between undergraduate and graduate school, so candidates need not commit to going immediately.
    *Public service is defined as government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service- oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.
  • Candidates can be: pursuing any major likely to lead to a public service career; any age;  interested in any graduate degree other than the MBA; and, considering either domestic or international programs for their graduate education.


  • Service record
  • Leadership record
  • Likelihood of success in graduate school


To be considered for nomination, submit a complete campus application to the UAA Office by the campus deadline (see section below). The campus nomination committee reviews applications and endorses up to four candidates. Nominees may revise their application materials before the national deadline in early February. The Truman Foundation announces finalists in late February, and interviews them in early to mid-March. The names of scholars are posted on the Truman web site in late March.


To be considered for nomination, submit the following electronically by 11:59 p.m. on the campus deadline.

  1. Application Form. Submit the official online Truman Scholarship application. For access contact the UAA Office (, 265-2428). You can preview a sample application here.
  2. Three letters of recommendation.  One must be from a professor in your field who can attest to your potential for graduate study, one must be from someone who can discuss your commitment to a career in public service (professor or volunteer/internship supervisor is a good choice), and the third must be able to discuss and verify the experience you write about in your leadership essay.  Please give your recommenders the appropriate recommendation forms, available through the online application (sample recommendation forms). Ask recommenders to email letters to The letters must be received by the campus due date.
  3. Transcript(s) from all colleges attended (for the campus competition an unofficial transcript or a copy of your UW-Madison student record is fine, as are photocopies of transcripts from other institutions). Transcripts should be sent to


For official information on the Truman Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please see the Truman Foundation website.


Essay tips
Letters of recommendation tips
Recommendation forms
Previous Truman Scholars