The National Merit Scholarship Program, which was established in 1955, is an annual academic competition for high school students to win distinction and college scholarships.
The program is run by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a non-profit corporation that works independently of the government.
High school students in the United States apply to the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as an initial screening of over 1.3 million entrants each year, and meeting published program entry and participation requirements.
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What Are the National Merit Scholarship Requirements
To qualify for the 2025 National Merit Program, a student must meet all of the following requirements.
Here is a list of the national merit scholarship requirements program below:
- Applicant must be enrolled in high school (conventional or homeschooled), on track to graduate or complete high school by 2025 and plan to enroll in college no later than the fall of 2025
- All applicants must attend high school in the United States, the District of Columbia, or one of the United States commonwealths or territories; or complete the citizenship criteria for students attending high school outside of the United States
- Regardless of grade classification or educational pattern, Applicant must take the 2023 PSAT/NMSQT in the stipulated year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12.
How much money do you get from a national merit Scholarship
The National Merit scholarship award is $2,500. Around 7,500 high school juniors are awarded a National Merit Scholarship each year. Students with qualified PSAT scores can obtain merit awards from corporations and universities in addition to a National Merit Scholarship.
Benefits of the National Merit Scholarship
1. Employment Opportunity
Being a National Merit Finalist can also help you get a job since it shows a high level of academic accomplishment and potential for success.
Being a National Merit Finalist is an honor that may be mentioned on college applications, resumes, and other professional papers.
3. Networking opportunities
National Merit Finalists may be able to meet other accomplished professionals and students through National Merit Scholarship Corporation-sponsored events and initiatives.
4. Increased college admissions chances
National Merit Finalists are given preference in the admissions process by a large number of institutions and universities.
5. Scholarship opportunities
Colleges, institutions, corporations, and other organizations may offer scholarships to National Merit Finalists.
The mission of the National Merit Scholarship
The objective of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and celebrate intellectually brilliant children in the United States. NMSC carries out its purpose by offering academic scholarship programs around the country. The following are the long-term aims of the NMSC scholarship programs:
- To foster a broader and deeper appreciation for learning in general and for extraordinarily brilliant individuals in particular.
- To highlight outstanding students and encourage academic success at all levels of school.
- To encourage increasing support from people and organizations interested in sponsoring scholarships for excellent academic achievement.
how many students get a national merit scholarship
The National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes over 50,000 participants. Over 16,000 of the 50,000 top scorers will be notified in early September that they have qualified as Semifinalists.
Semifinalists are the high scorers from each state. NMSC will inform students through their schools and provide them with scholarship application materials outlining the conditions for competing for National Merit Scholarships.
The remaining 34,000 high scores will be designated as Commended Students and will receive Letters of Commendation in acknowledgment of their exceptional academic promise, but they will not be eligible for National Merit Scholarships.
Can 10th Graders Get a National Merit Scholarship?
Yes, 10th Graders can get a National Merit Scholarship, Students in grades 9 through 12 can enroll in the National Merit Program if they take the PSAT/NMSQT in their third and fourth years of high school.
These students’ Selection Index scores will not be eligible for the program unless NMSC approves a written request for inclusion into the competition.
What is the National Merit Scholarship used for?
The National Merit Scholarships can only be used to attend a college or university in the United States that is accredited by a regional accrediting committee on higher education. Merit Scholarship stipends are not paid for participation at service academies or some schools with limited aims or training.
How to get a National Merit Scholarship
To compete for recognition and 7,880 scholarships in the National Merit Scholarship Program in 2025 all applicants must meet the following:
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2023.
- Meet other program entry requirements.
The 2023 PSAT/NMSQT is the entrance exam for the 2025 program. Participants in the program must take the test within the specified year of the high school program. In 2025, the majority of entrants will have completed high school and will be enrolled in college.
What is the Cutoff for a National Merit Scholarship
The table below shows the Cut Off for the National Merit Scholarship Program
How to tell if you Qualify For a National Merit Scholarship
Finalists are notified via letter in early February at their home addresses. A student can also obtain their Finalist letter using their Online Scholarship Application account.
which colleges Accept national merit scholarships
The colleges and universities listed in the table below will grant Merit Scholarships to Finalists who will enroll at the sponsoring school. In 2024, a few more universities might work with NMSC to fund scholarships.
|Abilene Christian University||Auburn University||Bowdoin College|
|American University||Belmont University||Bradley University|
|Arizona State University||Boston University||Brandeis University|
|Brigham Young University||Bucknell University||Calvin University|
|Carleton College||Florida Atlantic University||Vanderbilt University|
|Case Western Reserve University||Florida International|
|Centre College||Florida State University||Virginia Commonwealth|
|Claremont McKenna College||Fordham University||Washington and Lee University|
|Clemson University||Furman University||Washington State University|
|Colby College (ME)||Gordon College (MA)||Wayne State University (MI)|
|College of Charleston||Goshen College||West Virginia University|
|College of Wooster||Grinnell College||Wheaton College (IL)|
|Colorado College||Gustavus Adolphus College||Valparaiso University|
|Colorado State University||Harding University||University of Wyoming|
|Creighton University||Harvey Mudd College||University of Wisconsin-|
|Davidson College||Hendrix College||University of Utah|
|DePauw University||Hillsdale College||Lawrence University (WI)|
|Drake University||Hope College||Kenyon College|
|Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and identified campuses||Illinois Wesleyan University|
|Kansas State University|
|Emory University||Iowa State University||Kalamazoo College|
|Whitman College||Truman State University||Tufts University|
|Wichita State University||Texas Tech University||Trinity University (TX)|
|Willamette University||Texas A&M University,|
and identified campuses
|Texas Christian University|
|Woff ord College||Tennessee Technological|
|Stony Brook University|
|Lehigh University||Southern Methodist University||Samford University|
|Lewis & Clark College (OR)||Saint Louis University||St. Olaf College|
|Liberty University||Rutgers, The State University of|
New Jersey, and
|Rose-Hulman Institute of|
|Louisiana State University||Rhodes College||Rochester Institute of Technology|
|Louisiana Tech University||Purdue University||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute|
|Loyola University Chicago||Occidental College||Pomona College|
|Luther College||Oberlin College||Pennsylvania State University, and|
|Macalester College||Northeastern University (MA)||Ouachita Baptist University|
|Marquette University||North Dakota State|
|Franklin W. Olin College of|
|Michigan State University||New College of Florida||Oklahoma State University|
|Montana State University-|
|Oklahoma Christian University|
|Mississippi State University||Missouri University of Science|
|Tulane University||University of Kentucky||University of Kansas|
|University of Alabama at|
|University of Louisville||University of Maine|
|The University of Alabama in|
|University of Maryland, and|
|University of Miami|
|University of Alabama at|
|University of Mississippi||University of Minnesota, and|
|University of Arizona||University of Missouri-|
|University of Montana-Missoula|
|The University of Arkansas,|
|University of Nebraska-Lincoln||University of Nevada, Las Vegas|
|University of Central Florida||University of Nevada, Reno||University of New Mexico|
|University of Dallas||University of North Dakota||University of North Texas|
|University of Dayton||University of Oklahoma, and|
|University of Oregon|
|University of Evansville||University of St. Thomas (MN)||University of Pittsburgh|
|University of Florida||University of Puget Sound||University of South Carolina-|
|University of Georgia|
|University of South Florida||University of Southern California|
|University of Houston-|
|University of Southern Mississippi||University of Tennessee, Knoxville|
|University of Idaho||University of Texas at Dallas||University of Tulsa|
|University of Iowa|
is the national merit scholarship Renewable?
The national merit scholarship Depends on the sponsor, rewards might be one-time payments ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 or renewable grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 every year. Depending on the sponsor, grants are renewable for four years of study at the sponsor university. Stipends vary from $500 to $2,000 each year.
Corporate-sponsored national merit scholarship
The corporations, company foundations, and businesses named in the table below are expected to sponsor the National Merit Scholarship awards in 2024.
list of corporate sponsors for National Merit Scholarship
|Acushnet Company||Brown & Brown, Inc.|
|Southern Company Services, Inc.|
Specialty Materials Inc
|ADP Foundation||Bunzl USA, LLC||Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.|
|CACI International Inc||State Farm Companies Foundation|
|Akzo Nobel Inc.||Carlisle Companies Incorporated||Suburban Propane, L.P.|
|Albany International||Carpenter Technology Corporation||Synthomer Foundation|
|CDK Global, LLC||Teachers’ Insurance and Annuity Association of America|
|American Air Liquide|
|Texas Instruments Foundation|
|American City Business|
|Chevron U.S.A. Inc.||Textron Charitable Trust|
|American Electric Power||Coalfi re Systems, Inc.||3M Company|
|The AMETEK Foundation||Colgate-Palmolive Company||The Travelers Employees’ Club|
|Aon Foundation||Commvault Systems, Inc.||Tredegar Corporation|
|Apache Corporation||Research Triangle Institute||Truist Financial Corporation|
|Arkema Inc. Foundation|
|Reynolds American Foundation||TTEC Foundation|
|Aspen Technology, Inc.||Rheem Manufacturing Company||United Services Automobile|
|Astellas US LLC||Robert Half International Inc.||The UPS Foundation|
|AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP||Rockwell Automation Charitable Corporation||USG Foundation, Inc.|
|RSM US LLP|
|Vulcan Materials Company|
|Bentley Systems, Incorporated||Schindler Elevator Corporation||Walgreen Co.|
|Trust Under The Will of|
Mary E. Beyerle
|Schneider Electric North America|
|Waste Management National|
|BNSF Railway Foundation||Sensient Technologies Foundation||Westlake|
|The Boeing Company||Sentry Insurance Foundation, Inc.||Wunderman Thompson (J. Walter|
Thompson Company Fund, Inc.)
|Brady Corporation||Siemens Foundation||Zoetis Inc.|
|Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund||Snap-on Incorporated|
|Computer Aid, Inc.|
|Bristol Myers Squibb|
|Sony Electronics Inc.||Corning Incorporated|
|South Carolina Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center||Crum & Forster|
|CSX Corporation||Dollar Tree, Inc.||Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley|
|Eaton Charitable Fund||Liberty Mutual Scholarship|
|ECMS||The Lubrizol Foundation||LPL Financial LLC|
|Ellucian Company L.P.||Mannington Mills, Inc.||Marsh McLennan|
|Emerson Charitable Trust||McGraw Hill LLC||Mead Witter Foundation, Inc.|
|The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.||The MITRE Corporation||Motorola Solutions Foundation|
|National Distillers Distributors|
|National Gypsum Company|
(C. D. Spangler
|FedEx Custom Critical, Inc.||Nationwide Foundation||New Jersey Manufacturers|
|FedEx Freight Corporation||New York Life Foundation||The NewMarket Foundation|
|FedEx Ground Package|
|NextEra Energy Foundation, Inc.||NiSource Charitable Foundation|
|Fifth Third Foundation||Norfolk Southern Foundation||Northrop Grumman Corporation|
|Fluor Foundation||NOV Inc.||Novartis US Foundation|
|FMC Corporation||Novo Nordisk Inc.||NVIDIA Corporation|
|Occidental Petroleum Corporation||Omron Foundation, Inc.|
|Fox News Channel, LLC||Owens Corning Foundation||Paramount Global|
|FTS International, LLC||Parker Hannifi n Foundation||The PepsiCo Foundation, Inc.|
|GAF||Pfi zer Inc||Pilkington North America, Inc.|
|Gannett Foundation, Inc.||PPG Foundation||Principal Life Insurance Company|
|Gates Industrial Corporation Foundation||Public Service Enterprise Group||Putnam Investments, LLC|
|GEICO Philanthropic Foundation||W.W. Grainger, Inc.||Global Tungsten & Powders Corp.|
|General Dynamics Corporation||Gleason Family Foundation||General Dynamics Ordnance and|
|Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries||Insperity Services, L.P.||John Bean Technologies|
|Leidos, Inc.||LANXESS Corporation||L3Harris Technologies|
|The Kennametal Foundation||Johnson & Johnson Services Inc.||Kaman Corporation|
Deadline for National Merit Scholarship application
The closing date for the National Merit Scholarship is October 11, 2023.
National Merit Scholarship Contact Details
National Merit Scholarship Corporation
1560 Sherman Avenue, Suite 200
Evanston, IL 60201-4897
Phone: (847) 866-5100
Fax: (847) 866-5115
Visit the official scholarship website