National Merit Scholarship Requirements 2023/24

National Merit Scholarship Requirements

National Merit Scholarship Requirements

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.

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.

2. Recognition

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

New Hampshire213
New Jersey223
New Mexico208
North Dakota209
New York219
Rhode Island216
South Carolina213
South Dakota212
West Virginia207

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 UniversityAuburn UniversityBowdoin College
American UniversityBelmont UniversityBradley University
Arizona State UniversityBoston UniversityBrandeis University
Brigham Young UniversityBucknell UniversityCalvin University
Carleton CollegeFlorida Atlantic UniversityVanderbilt University
Case Western Reserve UniversityFlorida International
Villanova University
Centre CollegeFlorida State UniversityVirginia Commonwealth
Claremont McKenna CollegeFordham UniversityWashington and Lee University
Clemson UniversityFurman UniversityWashington State University
Colby College (ME)Gordon College (MA)Wayne State University (MI)
College of CharlestonGoshen CollegeWest Virginia University
College of WoosterGrinnell CollegeWheaton College (IL)
Colorado CollegeGustavus Adolphus CollegeValparaiso University
Colorado State UniversityHarding UniversityUniversity of Wyoming
Creighton UniversityHarvey Mudd CollegeUniversity of Wisconsin-
Davidson CollegeHendrix CollegeUniversity of Utah
DePauw UniversityHillsdale CollegeLawrence University (WI)
Drake UniversityHope CollegeKenyon College
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and identified campusesIllinois Wesleyan University
Indiana University
Kansas State University
Emory UniversityIowa State UniversityKalamazoo College
Whitman CollegeTruman State UniversityTufts University
Wichita State UniversityTexas Tech UniversityTrinity University (TX)
Willamette UniversityTexas A&M University,
and identified campuses
Texas Christian University
Woff ord CollegeTennessee Technological
Stony Brook University
Lehigh UniversitySouthern Methodist UniversitySamford University
Lewis & Clark College (OR)Saint Louis UniversitySt. Olaf College
Liberty UniversityRutgers, The State University of
New Jersey, and
identified campuses
Rose-Hulman Institute of
Louisiana State UniversityRhodes CollegeRochester Institute of Technology
Louisiana Tech UniversityPurdue UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Loyola University ChicagoOccidental CollegePomona College
Luther CollegeOberlin CollegePennsylvania State University, and
identified campuses
Macalester CollegeNortheastern University (MA)Ouachita Baptist University
Marquette UniversityNorth Dakota State
Franklin W. Olin College of
Michigan State UniversityNew College of FloridaOklahoma State University
Michigan Technological
Montana State University-
Oklahoma Christian University
Mississippi State UniversityMissouri University of Science
and Technology
Ohio University-Athens
Tulane UniversityUniversity of KentuckyUniversity of Kansas
University of Alabama at
University of LouisvilleUniversity of Maine
The University of Alabama in
University of Maryland, and
identified campuses
University of Miami
University of Alabama at
University of MississippiUniversity of Minnesota, and
identified campuses
University of ArizonaUniversity of Missouri-
University of Montana-Missoula
The University of Arkansas,
University of Nebraska-LincolnUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of Central FloridaUniversity of Nevada, RenoUniversity of New Mexico
University of DallasUniversity of North DakotaUniversity of North Texas
University of DaytonUniversity of Oklahoma, and
identified campuses
University of Oregon
University of EvansvilleUniversity of St. Thomas (MN)University of Pittsburgh
University of FloridaUniversity of Puget SoundUniversity of South Carolina-
University of Georgia
University of South FloridaUniversity of Southern California
University of Houston-
Main Campus
University of Southern MississippiUniversity of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of IdahoUniversity of Texas at DallasUniversity 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 CompanyBrown & Brown, Inc.
Southern Company Services, Inc.
Specialty Materials Inc
ADP FoundationBunzl USA, LLCSpirit AeroSystems, Inc.
Aerojet Rocketdyne
CACI International IncState Farm Companies Foundation
Akzo Nobel Inc.Carlisle Companies IncorporatedSuburban Propane, L.P.
Albany InternationalCarpenter Technology CorporationSynthomer Foundation
Ameren Corporation
Charitable Trust
CDK Global, LLCTeachers’ Insurance and Annuity Association of America
American Air Liquide
Holdings, Inc
Cencora, Inc.
Texas Instruments Foundation
American City Business
Journals, Inc
Chevron U.S.A. Inc.Textron Charitable Trust
American Electric PowerCoalfi re Systems, Inc.3M Company
The AMETEK FoundationColgate-Palmolive CompanyThe Travelers Employees’ Club
Aon FoundationCommvault Systems, Inc.Tredegar Corporation
Apache CorporationResearch Triangle InstituteTruist Financial Corporation
Arkema Inc. Foundation
Reynolds American FoundationTTEC Foundation
Aspen Technology, Inc.Rheem Manufacturing CompanyUnited Services Automobile
Astellas US LLCRobert Half International Inc.The UPS Foundation
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LPRockwell Automation Charitable CorporationUSG Foundation, Inc.
ViaSat, Inc
BASF Corporation
S&P Global
Vulcan Materials Company
Bentley Systems, IncorporatedSchindler Elevator CorporationWalgreen Co.
Trust Under The Will of
Mary E. Beyerle
Schneider Electric North America
Waste Management National
Services Inc.
BNSF Railway FoundationSensient Technologies FoundationWestlake
The Boeing CompanySentry Insurance Foundation, Inc.Wunderman Thompson (J. Walter
Thompson Company Fund, Inc.)
Brady CorporationSiemens FoundationZoetis Inc.
Bridgestone Americas Trust FundSnap-on Incorporated
Sogeti USA
Computer Aid, Inc.
Bristol Myers Squibb
Sony Electronics Inc.Corning Incorporated
Broadridge Financial
Solutions, Inc.
South Carolina Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic CenterCrum & Forster
CSX CorporationDollar Tree, Inc.Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley
Eaton Charitable FundLiberty Mutual Scholarship
Loews Corporation
ECMSThe Lubrizol FoundationLPL Financial LLC
Ellucian Company L.P.Mannington Mills, Inc.Marsh McLennan
Emerson Charitable TrustMcGraw Hill LLCMead Witter Foundation, Inc.
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.The MITRE CorporationMotorola Solutions Foundation
Eversource Energy
Foundation, Inc
National Distillers Distributors
National Gypsum Company
(C. D. Spangler
Foundation, Inc.)
FedEx Custom Critical, Inc.Nationwide FoundationNew Jersey Manufacturers
Insurance Company
FedEx Freight CorporationNew York Life FoundationThe NewMarket Foundation
FedEx Ground Package
System, Inc.
NextEra Energy Foundation, Inc.NiSource Charitable Foundation
Fifth Third FoundationNorfolk Southern FoundationNorthrop Grumman Corporation
Fluor FoundationNOV Inc.Novartis US Foundation
FMC CorporationNovo Nordisk Inc.NVIDIA Corporation
Formosa Plastics
Corporation, U.S.A.
Occidental Petroleum CorporationOmron Foundation, Inc.
Fox News Channel, LLCOwens Corning FoundationParamount Global
FTS International, LLCParker Hannifi n FoundationThe PepsiCo Foundation, Inc.
GAFPfi zer IncPilkington North America, Inc.
Gannett Foundation, Inc.PPG FoundationPrincipal Life Insurance Company
Gates Industrial Corporation FoundationPublic Service Enterprise GroupPutnam Investments, LLC
GEICO Philanthropic FoundationW.W. Grainger, Inc.Global Tungsten & Powders Corp.
General Dynamics CorporationGleason Family FoundationGeneral Dynamics Ordnance and
Tactical Systems
Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Huntington Ingalls IndustriesInsperity Services, L.P.John Bean Technologies
Leidos, Inc.LANXESS CorporationL3Harris Technologies
The Kennametal FoundationJohnson & 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

National Merit Scholarship

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