7140 Best Scholarships with National Merit Award 2024

Discover best scholarships with National Merit award in 2024; start your journey with insights and updates on all current scholarship opportunities in your level. In 2025, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) will confer a total of 7,880 scholarships, comprising 7,140 National Merit Scholarships of three types and approximately 740 Special Scholarships.

The collective value of these awards will exceed $35 million. While various types of scholarships will be available, it’s important to note that a student cannot receive more than one monetary award from NMSC.

About the National Merit Award

Founded in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) emerged during a period marked by concerns about the United States trailing in the Cold War scientific race and a general lack of recognition for intellectual achievements.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program was established to address this by identifying and honoring scholastically talented American youth, encouraging them to cultivate their abilities to the maximum extent.

This nationwide competition results in the awarding of National Merit Scholarships to program Finalists, while other high-performing participants meeting a corporate sponsor’s eligibility criteria receive Special Scholarships.

Read Also: $10K Plus Google Scholarships in 2024 with Internship Update

How National Merit Award Works

Only Finalists are eligible for National Merit Scholarships, with about half becoming Merit Scholarship winners, selected based on abilities and accomplishments, without bias. Recipients demonstrate the highest potential for success in rigorous college studies.

To receive the scholarship, winners must enroll in a US-accredited college or university, pursuing a full-time undergraduate course leading to a traditional baccalaureate degree. Stipends aren’t payable for service academies or certain limited-purpose institutions.

The selection process considers academic records, PSAT/NMSQT scores, essays, leadership, and recommendations from schools. This process is also used for Special Scholarship winners sponsored by corporations.

Available National Merit $2500 Scholarships

Here is a summary of funders for the national merit scholarship awards:

SCHOLARSHIPS OFFEREDEligibility CriteriaMonetary ValueSelection ProcessOffer Announcement Date
National Merit® $2500 ScholarshipsAll Finalists compete within their state or selection unit.$2,500 (one-time payment)Committee of college admission officers and high school counselorsLate March
Corporate-sponsored Merit ScholarshipsFinalists meeting criteria set by a corporate sponsor (e.g., children of employees, residents of specific communities, or those with specific college major or career plans).Varies by sponsor—ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 (one-time payment) or renewable awards from $1,000 to $10,000 per year.NMSC’s professional staffEarly March
Corporate-sponsored Special ScholarshipsHigh-performing program participants (though not Finalists) meeting a sponsor’s criteria (e.g., children of employees, residents of specific communities, or specific college major or career plans).Varies by sponsor—ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 (one-time payment) or renewable awards from $1,000 to $10,000 per year.NMSC’s professional staffEarly March
College-sponsored Merit ScholarshipsFinalists planning to attend a sponsor college, declaring it as their first choice.Varies by sponsor—renewable awards for four years (stipends ranging from $500 to $2,000 per year).Officials of each sponsor collegeEarly May
About table: each section provides a clearer snapshot of the key details for each type of scholarship offered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

How to Apply for National Merit Awards

Applying for the National Merit Scholarship involves a multi-step process. Here’s a concise guide:

  1. Take the PSAT/NMSQT®:
    • Take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) during your junior year in high school.
  2. Achieve High Scores:
    • Aim for high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT to qualify for recognition and potential scholarship opportunities.
  3. Receive Recognition:
    • Based on your PSAT/NMSQT scores, you may receive recognition as a Commended Student or Semifinalist.
  4. Submit Additional Information (Semifinalists Only):
    • Semifinalists must submit detailed academic information, a recommendation, and a personal essay.
  5. Become a Finalist:
    • Semifinalists who meet all requirements become Finalists, advancing to compete for scholarships.
  6. Apply to Sponsor Colleges (College-sponsored Merit Scholarships):
    • Finalists planning to attend a sponsor college must inform NMSC that it’s their first choice.
  7. Corporate-Sponsored Scholarships:
    • Finalists may be eligible for corporate-sponsored scholarships based on specific criteria.
  8. Selection and Notification:
    • Recipients are selected based on various factors, and notifications are sent out in early May.
  9. Accept Scholarship Offer:
    • If awarded, recipients must notify NMSC of their college enrollment plans and accept the scholarship.
  10. Attend College and Receive Stipends:
    • Attend the chosen college, and if awarded a stipend, receive the annual stipends as specified.

Make sure to check the official National Merit Scholarship Corporation website for the most up-to-date and detailed application instructions.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation website

The official website for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is https://www.nationalmerit.org/. You can find comprehensive information about the scholarship programs, application procedures, and updates on their website.

Editorial Picks for you:


How do you qualify as a National Merit Scholarship Award

To qualify as a National Merit Scholar, you need to complete the National Merit Scholarship Application, which includes writing an essay. Additionally, you must have a record of exceptional academic performance throughout grades 9 to 12, including any college coursework. Your high school principal must fully endorse you for Finalist standing and recommend you for a National Merit Scholarship.

What PSAT score do you need for National Merit?

For National Merit Semifinalist status, you generally need a Selection Index score of 221. However, specific state requirements may vary, with some states having higher cutoff scores, such as Massachusetts with a cutoff of 222 and New Jersey with a cutoff of 223.

What GPA do you need to be a National Merit Scholar?

To be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program, students should have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and enroll in 30 hours per academic year. This qualification allows them to participate for four years of undergraduate studies.

What SAT score is required for National Merit Scholarship?

The National Merit Scholarship Program doesn’t require a specific SAT score for eligibility. Instead, it relies on the PSAT/NMSQT scores. Students need to take the PSAT/NMSQT and achieve a high Selection Index score to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

How long should my National Merit essay be?

Your National Merit essay should be approximately 500 to 600 words, utilizing the space provided for your response. Within this limit, emphasize two crucial components in your essay to effectively convey your thoughts and showcase your qualifications.

Scroll to Top