Change the Nomination Review Process of the Truman Scholarship

Change the Nomination Review Process of the Truman Scholarship

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Jenna McCrorie started this petition to Harry S. Truman Foundation

The Harry S. Truman Foundation has been distributing awards to deserving undergraduate students who express devotion to public service since 1975. As the nation's "premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders", it is the responsibility of the foundation to serve all applicants by modifying their current review process.

Currently, the Foundation's nomination review is based on applicants' state of permanent residence. This system makes two key scenarios possible. First, applicants who grew up in one state with abundant access to educational, cultural, or other resources but obtains residency in another state with disparate access to such resources (state residency typically only requires 366+ days of physical presence and payment of state income taxes at minimum) are able to apply with an affiliation to the latter state - this is not always the state where they received their secondary education, received advising for standardized tests, or received advising for college applications and admissions decisions.

Secondly, it is important to note that applicants for the Truman Scholarship are primarily evaluated based on their most recent and notable achievements which typically take place during an applicant's college years and in the state where they attend college. 35 of the 62 Truman Scholars in 2021 were awarded the Truman Scholarship for states where they do not currently attend university. Furthermore, there were also eight states where the winner affiliated with that state was the only, or one of two, finalist(s) in that state's pool who attended a school that was out-of-state. In other words, State A's pool of five finalists had four finalists who attended schools in State A and one finalist who attended a school in State B; the State B finalist was the one who was awarded the scholarship, but their affiliation was with State A since it is considered their state of permanent residence. Because of the prevalence of discontinuity in applicants' university locations and states of permanent residence, the current system is largely inconsequential for most applicants.

In order to ensure that the Truman Foundation provides equal opportunity for all applicants, it is necessary to discard the current system based on permanent residence in favor of a more equitable approach such as academic discipline, nominating institution, or general merit.

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