Truman Scholarship

The Truman is a national merit-based scholarship open to juniors who want to make a difference through a career in public service.

The Truman Foundation defines public service as employment government at any level, uniformed services, public interest organizations, non-governmental research and/or education organizations, public and private schools, and public-service orientated nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

  • Truman Scholars receive a $30,000 award for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.
  • Applicants are selected based upon their leadership potential, academic merit and commitment to public service.

Eligibility criteria

  • Are you a full-time junior pursuing a degree during the 2023-24 academic year? “Junior” is defined as a student who plans at least one more semester of full-time undergraduate study beginning September 2024, and who expects to graduate between December 2024 and August 2025. (Students in their third year of collegiate study but who expect to graduate during the 2023-2024 academic year are also eligible to apply for the current 2024 Truman competition.)
  • Do you have a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors?
  • Do you participate in campus and community service?
  • Do you have strong communication skills and a high probability of becoming a “change agent”?
  • Do you have a strong academic record with likely acceptance to the graduate school of your choice?
  • Are you a U.S. citizen or a citizen of the Pacific Islands who is a U.S. National or permanent resident of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands?

The campus process

The Truman Scholarship requires institutional nomination, a process coordinated by the Office of National Fellowships & Academic Opportunities. Each U.S. institution (college or university) is limited to a maximum of four nominees per year, plus up to three transfer students for a possible maximum of seven nominees per year. Since the number of qualified candidates for nomination at URI often outnumbers this maximum number, our campus has a pre-application process to select its nominees. The campus pre-application includes:

  • A list of potential letter writers (no letters are submitted at this stage.)
  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate work.
  • A resume
  • Short answer questions
  • The campus nomination pre-application deadline is always due the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. For the 2024 competition this will be November 28, 2023. Submit the URI pre-application via the following link:
Truman pre-application

Once nominees are selected and notified, they will meet individually with Truman Scholarship Advisor Kathleen Maher to develop a timeline for approaching the full application including research essays and letters of recommendation. Nominees spend a great deal of time during the month of January working on revisions of their application materials with feedback from Kathleen Maher and faculty mentors.

Our success

Sixteen URI students have been selected as Truman Scholars since the program’s inception in 1975 and many others have been finalists. Almost all of the sixteen URI Truman Scholars have been actively engaged with the Honors Program.

  • In 2023 Lina Altaan Al-Hariri ’24 (ISD, GWS, GLAS) became our newest Truman Scholar.
  • Our 2018 Truman Scholar Andrew Boardman (Economics’ 19) is currently employed as a policy analyst at the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy in Washington, DC.
  • 2017 Truman Scholar Autumn Guillotte (History & Philosophy ’18) pursued a masters degree in Public History at University College Dublin and was a 2019 finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. She currently works for the RI AFL-CIO as a digital organizer.

Perhaps you will be next!

Questions? Email Kathleen Maher (kmaher at and visit the Truman Foundation website at: