Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Truman Scholarships overwhelmingly awarded to progressive students for tenth year in row

Meanwhile, fewer than one in 10 are openly conservative, analysis finds

Nearly three in four recipients of this year’s prestigious, federally funded Truman Scholarship have clear ties to Democratic politicians or progressive causes, a College Fix analysis found.

Approximately 43 of the 60 students have worked for Democratic politicians, advocated for progressive causes, or identify as left-leaning — continuing an annual trend exposed in past Fix analyses.

In contrast, only five scholars have worked for Republican politicians, advocated for conservative causes, or identify as right-leaning. The College Fix determined this information based on provided biographies, LinkedIn profiles, and email inquiries.

Terry Babcock-Lumish, the executive secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, told The Fix in a recent email the foundation does not consider students’ political affiliation “as a criteria for selection.”

“The Truman Foundation’s selection process is based solely on applicants’ demonstrated commitment to public service, leadership potential, and academic excellence,” she said.

Babcock-Lumish said the foundation often does not know applicants’ political affiliations and students regularly work for politicians “with whom their beliefs are not 100% aligned.”

She continued, “Our annual competition requires nominations from undergraduate institutions, so the Truman Scholars we select are reflective of the pool of candidates that we have before us. If students are not nominated or do not apply, we cannot select them. Accordingly, let me again ask The College Fix to encourage readers making commitments to careers in public service to apply.”

The Democratic politicians whom the 2024 scholarship winners have worked or interned for include Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, California Rep. Adam Schiff, Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, and Michigan state Rep. Abraham Aiyash.

MORE: Left-leaning students again win vast majority of Truman Scholarships in 2020

Awardees also have been involved with left-wing organizations, including Planned Parenthood Generation Action, College Democrats, Young Democrats, Equal Rights Advocates, and Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Resolution.

Additionally, some have advocated for progressive issues such as “the safety of LGBTQ+ disabled youth,” “racial justice activism,” “pro-union policies,” “environmental justice,” and “social justice and equity,” The Fix analysis found.

A few of this year’s recipients worked for Republican politicians, including Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, and Tennessee Rep. Diana Harshbarger.

The remaining 12 recipients did not respond to inquiries from The Fix about their political leanings, and their ideologies could not be definitively determined based on public information.

Issues considered politically neutral by The Fix include cleaning waterways, removing invasive species, tackling aviation safety challenges, addressing rural mental healthcare access, researching agricultural sustainability, and “designing prescribed fire programs for the National Park Service.”

Truman Scholarships have been disproportionately awarded to progressive recipients every year since at least 2015, according to past Fix analyses. In both 2018 and 2021, zero openly conservative students were awarded a Truman Scholarship.

Last year, The Fix found only four scholarship winners publicly identified as conservative, while 29 recipients had evident ties to progressive causes.

The $30,000 scholarship is awarded to approximately 60 students annually, selected from a pool of about 800 applicants. Awardees pledge to spend three of their first seven years after finishing graduate school in public service.

The scholarship foundation was established by Congress as a federal memorial to President Harry Truman. The foundation’s board of trustees has a bipartisan makeup, as directed by federal statute.

Current board members include Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger, Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, New Jersey Democrat Rep. Andy Kim, and Hawaii Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz.

MORE: 2020 Rhodes Scholarships heavily favor progressive candidates

IMAGE: Truman Scholarship Foundation

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
College Fix contributor Benjamin Rothove is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, serves as the Chairman of UW-Madison Students for DeSantis, and is the National Vice-Chair of Young Leaders for Keep Nine.