Will Congress pull funding from liberally biased Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation?

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By CASEY HARPER | THE CENTER SQUARE

Lawmakers have threatened to revoke the appropriations for a federally-funded scholarship program that an audit found favors liberally leaning students over conservatives by a ratio of 10 to 1.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established in the 1970s to award scholarships to students who “demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service.”

An audit of those scholarships performed by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, though, reported strong liberal bias at the taxpayer-funded foundation.

The Alaska experience confirms it: In recent years, Alaska Sen. Forrest Dunbar, one of the most radically left members of the Alaska Legislature, was one of the recipients of the scholarship.

The 2024 recipient from Alaska is studying political science with minors in women’s studies, gender studies and justice. In 2023, the Alaska recipient is a Democrat who says she is enrolled in “Women’s and Gender Studies.” No Alaskans received the award in 2022. The Alaska awardee in 2021 is listed as an undeclared party but says in her bio that she is “student advocate who is committed to fighting for climate justice and immigration.”

“While this role suggests these programs should include scholars who reflect a breadth of views, values, and interests, their participants instead display a stark ideological tilt,” AEI said in its report.

The foundation does have members of both parties on its board, including U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kans.

Notably, President Joe Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona also sits on the board.

House Republican lawmakers on leadership on the relevant committees sent a letter to foundation Executive Secretary Terry Babcock-Lumish demanding answers.

“Between 2021 and 2023, the Truman Foundation selected 182 Truman winners,” the letter said. “Yet, despite the Truman Foundation’s claims that it ‘supports scholars from a wide range of perspectives, interests, and geographic areas,’ just six recipients espoused interest in a cause traditionally considered conservative-leaning.

“Not a single winner professed interest in causes such as protecting the rights of the unborn or defending the Second Amendment,” the letter continued. “By contrast, the Foundation selected at least 74 winners professing interest in a progressive cause.”

The foundation awards about 60 scholarships every year.

“As a publicly funded award charged with preparing the civic leaders of tomorrow, the Truman Scholarship should, at a bare minimum, be reflective of the country’s breadth of values, viewpoints, and interests,” the letter said. “The Truman Foundation requested approximately $3 million in appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year. However, if the Truman Scholarship functions as a career booster solely for students of a particular political persuasion, it should no longer be worthy of Congressional support, taxpayer funding, or its exalted public image.”

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Chairman Burgess Owens, R-Utah., and Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., led the letter.

The foundation did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Editor’s note: This story has additions from Must Read Alaska pertaining to local scholarship recipients.

7 COMMENTS

  1. No reason to stop at scholarship programs. Funding for liberally biased Universities should be questioned also. They are turning out poorly educated graduates and are damaging the United States reputation for excellent educational institutions.

  2. Get rid of the present board members. The scholarship program was set up with specific criteria and if the present board members are off center, then they should be removed rather than taking away the scholarship programs.

  3. Instead of appropriating more monies we have to borrow to “fix” institutional flaws, congress should just end all these funds, grants and NGO monies across the board. Whatever nonesense these “scholars” are being indoctrinated in, they will never be leadership material for tomorrow. Many of our most serious problems would end if they were not paid for through congress.

  4. We are being destroyed from within. No surprise but good to see someone within Congress is paying attention.

  5. It I’ll get an increase,thanks to Scary Mary. And Princess will be happy to spend! Spend! Spend!!

  6. I am proud to have been selected as the second Truman Scholar from Alaska in 1978. It is an extremely rigorous process to be selected which starts after being nominated by the university you attend to be considered. Attending college in Washington DC there was a great deal of competition. I was honored the university selected me. Once selected, then you are pitted against other individuals from your state. Then a panel interviews you before a selection is made. For me this was done in Seattle by people I did not know. I was and remain proud to be an Alaskan Truman Scholar.

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