Frequently Asked Questions
What proportion of Finalists win a scholarship?
Approximately half of all Finalists win a scholarship.
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.
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.
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.
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, virtual universities, or institutions that are limited in purpose or training.
Is there a list of scholarship sponsors?
Scholarship sponsors are listed in the PSAT/NMSQT® Official Student Guide, which is updated annually and sent to high schools each fall for distribution to students.
Page last updated September 2015