Scholarships Awarded FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Scholarships Awarded FAQ


  1. What proportion of Finalists win a scholarship?
  2. When and how are Finalists notified that they have been awarded a scholarship?
  3. What kinds of scholarships are awarded?
  4. How can a student be considered for a Special Scholarship?
  5. Where may scholarships be used?
  6. Is there a list of scholarship sponsors?

1. What proportion of Finalists win a scholarship?

Approximately half of all Finalists win a scholarship.

2. When and how are Finalists notified that they have been awarded a scholarship?

On a rolling basis, beginning in March and ending in June, Scholars are notified at their home addresses. Their high school principals are also notified.

3. What kinds of scholarships are awarded?

In the National Merit® Scholarship Program, three types of Merit Scholarship® awards are offered to Finalists: National Merit $2500 Scholarships, corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, and college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards. Special Scholarships are awarded to outstanding students who are not Finalists and meet a corporate sponsor's criteria.

4. How can a student be considered for a Special Scholarship?

A Special Scholarship is a corporate-sponsored award. To be considered for a Special Scholarship, students must meet the sponsor's criteria and the entry requirements for the National Merit® Scholarship Program. They also must submit the sponsor's entry form. Additional information can be found on the National Merit Scholarship Program page.

5. Where may scholarships be used?

NMSC scholarship payments must be used exclusively for undergraduate education at a college or university in the United States that holds accredited status with a regional accrediting commission on higher education. NMSC Scholarships are not payable for attendance at service academies or certain institutions that are limited in their purposes or training.

6. Is there a list of scholarship sponsors?

Scholarship sponsors are listed in the PSAT/NMSQT® Student Guide, which is updated annually and sent to high schools each fall for distribution to students.


Featured Scholars
George N. Pandya
George N. Pandya
Endlessly curious and exceptionally innovative, George N. Pandya says, “I am always thrilled to immerse myself in a fascinating new problem, learning something new, whether I fail or succeed.” George received three associate’s degrees as a dual-enrollment student before graduating from high school, and his passion for learning has enabled him to gain experience both in the academic sphere and the workplace.
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Natalie M. Johnson
Natalie M. Johnson
The youngest of six sisters, Natalie M. Johnson has experienced the financial strain that often accompanies a quality education. “Winning a National Achievement Scholarship,” she says, “was very moving for me because it meant for the first time in my life I could pursue my academic passions without stress caused by limited finances.” Natalie iterates, “very real social barriers prevent other low-income students from achieving the same things as I have.” She intends to use her education to give back to others.
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Isaiah J. Drummond
Isaiah J. Drummond
Isaiah J. Drummond was inspired to combine his interests in biology and mechanical engineering after attending the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Sciences (MITES) summer program through Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MITES, he won the Edna and Leon Trilling Award for Overall Academic Excellence, completed research at the Broad Institute for Genomics, and interviewed professionals at the Boston Medical Center. These activities motivated him to “work diligently to leave a positive, lasting impact on the world.” Isaiah asserts,“I hope to discover new ways to fight against ailments” and “use my knowledge and skills to increase public awareness of diseases and encourage others to join the fight.”
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Amy T. Sun
Amy T. Sun
While attending Johns Hopkins University, Amy T. Sun pursued a double degree in biomedical engineering and engineering mechanics. She gained valuable laboratory experience at several internships, including two at the National Institutes of Health, and worked as a research assistant in the systems biology laboratory at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Amy is passionate about “solving problems and understanding how the world works” and is grateful for her scholarship, which helped her partake in study abroad opportunities.
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Laurel M. Wright
Laurel M. Wright
Laurel M. Wright is the 2016 recipient of the National Merit John M. Stalnaker Memorial Scholarship, which is given each year to an outstanding National Merit Finalist planning to pursue a career in mathematics or science. This four-year award is underwritten by NMSC in honor of its founding President and Chief Executive Officer, who recognized a need for increased support of science and math in America. Laurel is attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she plans to turn her dream of becoming a theoretical physicist into a reality.
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