Frequently Asked Questions
Who finances NMSC scholarships?
National Merit Scholarship Corporation scholarships are supported by about 250 corporations, company foundations and businesses, and by NMSC's own funds. In addition, approximately 190 colleges and universities provide National Merit® Scholarships. Over 9,600 scholarships worth $48 million are awarded annually in NMSC programs. Grants and contributions to NMSC are deductible by the donor under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.
What is a corporate sponsor's role?
A corporate sponsor announces its program, confirms the eligibility of award winners, and pays scholarship costs. Some recognize Scholars at a special event and/or in company publications. NMSC conducts all other aspects of the competition and award administration.
What types of awards may a corporate sponsor offer?
Sponsors may offer renewable awards that cover up to four years of undergraduate study or one-time scholarships that provide a single payment when recipients enter college. Renewable scholarships provide either a fixed yearly stipend that is the same for all recipients of a sponsor's awards, or a variable stipend that is individually determined by NMSC after taking into account the Scholar's family financial circumstances and college costs.
Who wins corporate-sponsored awards?
Corporate sponsors may offer scholarships for children of their employees, residents of plant communities or other geographic areas, or students planning specified careers or college majors. All candidates must meet NMSC's standards for the competition and the sponsor's eligibility criteria.
Who determines employment eligibility for corporate-sponsored awards?
Corporate sponsors define employment eligibility and determine whether individual students are eligible to participate in their scholarship programs.
Who chooses winners of corporate-sponsored scholarships?
Members of NMSC professional staff choose winners from among eligible candidates. They review each candidate's academic record, essay, demonstrated leadership in school and community activities, and a high school official's recommendation. Scholarship recipients are the candidates judged to have the strongest combination of abilities, skills, and accomplishments.
Can a foundation fund scholarships for the children of company employees?
Yes. Company foundations are required to obtain advance Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approval of the grant making procedures. NMSC files the necessary paperwork with the IRS on behalf of the company foundation.
If an employee leaves the company, can the student keep the scholarship?
Yes. Employment eligibility for the award is determined on the date the scholarship is offered and is not a requirement for the continuation of the scholarship in subsequent years.
What are Special Scholarships?
Special Scholarships are awards for outstanding students who are not Finalists in the Merit Scholarship® competition. They are provided by National Merit® Scholarship Program corporate sponsors to complement their National Merit Scholarships given to Finalists.
How does a student enter the competition for Special Scholarships?
The student must submit the sponsor's Entry Form. Please visit the National Merit® Scholarship Program page for additional information.
When should a sponsor announce its scholarship program?
The announcement should occur annually in July or August.
How and when are sponsors billed?
An annual invoice for scholarship costs is sent in late June with payment due by mid-August. The payment is a tax-deductible contribution.
Do sponsors pay administrative fees?
No. Sponsors only pay for the scholarships provided to their winners and nominal grants that are used to underwrite National Merit® $2500 Scholarships for which all Finalists are considered. The grant amount is based on the number of awards the sponsor supports.
Page last updated September 2015