National Merit Scholarship requirements 2023-2024

On this article, we’ll talk about the National Merit Scholarship Requirements 2023,  GPA requirements, score requirements by state, finalist requirements, and renewal requirements.

Are you interested in participating in the National Merit Scholarship Program? Are you a parent and you want to put up your kid to participate in the program? You need to read this article whether you are a student or a parent.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition that was put in place to recognize and give scholarships to United States high school students who are academically brilliant.

The scholarship program is for students who are citizens of the U.S., whether studying in the U.S. or abroad. An international student can participate in the scholarship program as long as he or she intends to become a citizen of the U.S. at the earliest chance which is permitted by law.

The National Merit Scholarship Program has three (3) main objectives.

National Merit Scholarship Program Objectives

  • To promote quality education by identifying and honoring United States high school students who are talented academically.
  • To act as a basin for corporate organizations who want to sponsor college scholarships for undergraduates by bringing them together and effectively managing the scholarships.
  • To enhance support for U.S. high school student’s education.

National Merit Scholarship Requirement 2024

To stand a chance of becoming a beneficiary of the National Merit Scholarship Program, students or parents should ensure that their child or children meet the following requirements.

  1. Interesting students must be enrolled as either traditional or homeschooled high school students.
  2. Students must be among those who are progressing towards completion of high school and graduation normally.
  3. Students must also be making plans to accept college admission in the fall following completion of high school.
  4. Interested students must be attending high schools in the U.S. Commonwealth and territory, and the District of Columbia.
  5. Students attending high school outside the U.S. must meet the requirements for United States citizenship.

The above requirements are nonnegotiable and must be met before a student is allowed to participate in the scholarship program.

National Merit Scholarships GPA requirements

Students who are National Merit Semi-finalists and Finalists are extremely serious with their academics. This is because of the demand by the National Merit Scholarship Board with regard to becoming semifinalists and finalists. The scholarship program demands that a student must maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA to qualify.

The student will also have to maintain the GPA level through his or her four years in school.

National Merit Scholarships Score Requirements by State

The National Merit Scholarships score requirements vary for each state, the NMSC sums up your overall scores once you have taken the PSAT.

The table below shows the score requirements for each state, It will help you to know how the National Merit Scholarship Competition in your area will be competitive.

Data Source:

Alabama 209
Alaska 212
Arizona 212
Arkansas 211
California 221
Colorado 220
Connecticut 220
Delaware 219
DC 221
Florida 216
Georgia 217
Hawaii 212
Idaho 212
Illinois 222
Indiana 220
Iowa 219
Kansas 219
Kentucky 219
Louisiana 217
Maine 219
Maryland 220
Massachusetts 223
Michigan 219
Minnesota 221
Mississippi 215
Missouri 219
Montana 214
Nebraska 219
Nevada 217
New Hampshire 219
New Jersey 222
New Mexico 213
New York 223
North Carolina 217
North Dakota 219
Ohio 221
Oklahoma 217
Oregon 216
Pennsylvania 222
Rhode Island 220
South Carolina 218
South Dakota 219
Tennessee 219
Texas 216
Utah 221
Vermont 219
Virginia 220
Washington 221
West Virginia 217
Wisconsin 219
Wyoming 212
Average Score 252

National Merit Scholarship Finalist Requirements

To become a finalist, the following requirements must be met;

  • Semifinalists must work together with a high school official to submit a scholarship application that is well-detailed.
  • Information about the student’s academic record and participation in school and community activities must be provided.
  • Student’s exhibited leadership qualities and employment must be included in the application.
  • Semifinalist’s awards and honors received must be added to the application.
  • The student’s academic record through high school must be outstanding.
  • A high school official must endorse the student.
  • The student must write an essay.
  • Semifinalists must have good scores on the SAT or ACT which will confirm his or her earlier performance in the qualifying test.

National Merit Scholarship Renewal Requirements

The academic performance of students is evaluated once every year after the posting of spring grades. Here are some key details on renewal requirements for National Merit Scholarships:

  • Most National Merit Scholarships are renewable annually for up to 4 years of undergraduate study.
  • To renew the scholarship, students must typically maintain full-time enrollment in college and continue meeting the scholarship sponsor’s criteria. This often includes maintaining a minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher).
  • Students must submit paperwork each year to renew the scholarship, including transcripts, enrollment verification, and a summary of their activities and accomplishments. Deadlines are in April/May.
  • Scholarship sponsors have the right to modify or discontinue scholarships based on their own criteria, which students must continue satisfying.
  • If the sponsor discontinues a scholarship, National Merit will attempt to match the student with an alternate sponsor. However, this is not guaranteed.
  • Students who fail to renew their scholarship or lose sponsorship generally cannot regain the scholarship at a later date.
  • Exceptions may be granted for things like illness, emergency leave, or religious/military service. Students should get approval from sponsors.
  • The National Merit organization also offers a limited number of Special Scholarships for Finalists which have less stringent criteria.

So in summary, students must maintain academic performance, full-time enrollment, and sponsorship support to renew National Merit Scholarships each year. Meeting renewal requirements is crucial to retaining these prestigious and valuable scholarships.

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