The SAT “Confirming” Test for National Merit Semifinalists: What Is It?

Of the 16,000 students (~top 1%) who become National Merit semifinalists, about 15,000 become finalists, most often because some semifinalists have a few low grades, a poor essay, or do not have sufficient SAT confirming scores (see below). And only about 7,500 actually become National Merit Scholars. One reason: many National Merit Scholars choose to attend one of the many prestigious colleges that do not offer any merit scholarships. For example, Harvard might have 250 National Merit Scholars in a given freshman class, but none will receive a merit scholarship of any kind.

(Please see this post for a discussion of PSAT scores and SAT confirming scores.)

The SAT “confirming” score: In order to become a finalist, a student must take the SAT no later than December of the senior year, but taking it no later than early November is recommended. Earlier tests taken as a sophomore or later may also be used. Superscores are not allowed. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation must receive your SAT scores by December 31. This only leaves about a week after receiving December test scores to make sure of the notification. 

According to the NMSC, the “SAT Program will not report your scores to NMSC unless you request it, and you cannot substitute a photocopy of the score report sent to you or your school for the official report. Send all testing and score reporting fees directly to the SAT Program.”

The ACT does not count for confirming purposes. And, you guessed it, the SAT for purposes of NMS eligibility also has a selection index. 

The SAT selection index differs from the PSAT selection index. Because the SAT has a maximum score of 1600 versus 1520 for the PSAT, the maximum section scores for the SAT selection index are higher. The maximum scaled section score for the SAT is 40 (versus 38) and the maximum selection index score is 240 (versus 228). (But below is the recommended “simple” way to calculate the SAT selection index (SSI).

Another difference is that, for the SAT, the confirming score is national, one SAT selection index total for everyone, regardless of state or location of residence. In the past, an SSI score that equals the PSAT selection index score for commended students has been the minimum acceptable SSI. The good news is that very high scorers on the PSAT should be very likely to meet the “commendable” threshold of the confirming SAT.

Students in states where the commendable PSAT score is the same as the seminfinalist qualify score, and who just did make the commendable score, may have to take the SAT more than once to confirm. Taking the SAT multiple times to reach a confirming score is well worth the effort given the many advantages that come with NMS status.

Example: PSAT selection index score is 2011 = commended student.

Student A has an overall SAT score of 1430, with an evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) score of 710 and a math score of 720. (These SAT percentiles are 96 for EBRW and 95 for math.)

The simple formula for the SSI is to drop the zeros from the scores, thus making the above scores 71 and 72, respectively. Then multiply the EBRW score by 2, and add the math score.

Example: 71 x 2 = 142; 142 + 72 = 214. An SSI of 214 exceeds the PSAT SI score of 211 and should be sufficient for confirming purposes.

You can also calculate the SSI by doubling the total EBRW score (710 x 2), adding the total math score (720), and dividing the total sum by 10.

Example: 710 x 2 = 1420; 1420 + 720 = 2140; 2140 / 10 = 214.

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Rhodes Scholars 2018: More Breadth, Less Ivy Dominance

The Rhodes Scholarships continue to be awarded mainly to students from private colleges and universities, but the latest group of 32 students includes “only” 8 from Ivy League universities, down from ten in 2017.

The ten public universities with 2018 scholars are CUNY (Hunter College); Temple; Maryland-Baltimore County; Georgia Tech; Auburn; Illinois; Michigan; Michigan State; South Dakota; and Alaska-Anchorage. At least nine of these scholars are present or former honors program students.

Rhodes Scholars from Hunter College (CUNY), Temple, UMBC, and Alaska-Anchorage are the first from their colleges to earn the prestigious award. The selection of a record number of black Rhodes Scholars is further evidence that the Rhodes Trust is taking a broader approach.

The total value of the scholarship averages approximately $68,000 per year, and up to as much as approximately $250,000 for scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in certain departments.

The new list of Rhodes Scholars (awarded in November 2017 for the year 2018) includes four from Harvard, as in the previous class, far and away the cumulative leader among all schools; one from Princeton, two from Yale, and one from Penn. In 2015 and 2016, the Ivy League recorded 14 of the 32 awards won by American students. In 2013 there were 16 winners from the Ivies, twice the number in the current class.

The University of Virginia and North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the leaders among all state universities in the number of Rhodes Scholars earned by their graduates. UVA has 53 Rhodes Scholars, and UNC Chapel Hill has 49.

Once again, the service academies are well-represented. The U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs each had Rhodes winners.

Udall Scholars 2017: Colorado State, Georgia, and William and Mary have Two Each

The 2017 class of Udall Scholars was selected from 494 candidates nominated by 224 colleges and universities. Thirty-four Scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment. Eleven Native American/Alaska Native Scholars intend to pursue careers related to Tribal public policy; five Native American/Alaska Native Scholars intend to pursue careers related to Native health care. Thanks to strong recruiting efforts from faculty advisors, professors, alumni, and partners, nominations in the Native Health Care and Tribal Public Policy categories increased 23.8% from 2016.

The list of recipients from public universities is below.

Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the Scholar’s junior or senior year. Since the first awards in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,574 scholarships totaling $8,090,000.

William and Mary, Georgia, and Colorado State each had two winners in 2017.

Scholar Statistics

  • 50 Scholars and 50 Honorable Mentions were selected
  • 34 Scholarships were awarded in the Environment category; five in Native Health Care; and 11 in Tribal Public Policy
  • 11 Sophomores; 39 Juniors
  • 54% self-identify as non-white
  • Three Scholars were also Scholars in 2016; five Scholars were Honorable Mentions in 2016; 11 Scholars were nominated in 2016 (but were neither Scholars nor Honorable Mentions then)
  • 42 institutions have Scholars; one of those has a Scholar for the first time; 18 have Scholars for the first time in three or more years
  • Tribal Public Policy and Native Health Care scholars are enrolled in 16 different Tribes; 11 additional Tribes have Honorable Mentions
  • Scholars come from 35 states; 35 states have Honorable Mentions

Udall Scholars 2017, with name of public college or university:

Mathew T. Bain
Montana State University

Augustine J. Beard
University of Oregon

Amber H. Berg
Kansas State University

Casey E. Brayton
University of South Carolina-Columbia

Chad J. Brown
Northern Arizona University

Rachel G. Dickson
University of Montana

Grace F. Fuchs
Ohio University

Shreya Ganeshan
University of Georgia

Tomas W. Green
University of Kansas

Katelynne N Johnson
Colorado State University

Kiloaulani E. Kaawa-Gonzales
Colorado State University

Emma Kincade
Oklahoma State University

Ashley N. Lewis
Highline Community Tribe of the Pine Ridge College

Tamee E. Livermont
University of South Dakota

Sabrina R. Myoda
Purdue University

Mackenzie L. Neal
College of William and Mary

David Perez
Florida State University

Emily Plumage
University of Utah

Matthew A. Salm
University of Texas-Dallas

Talia J. Schmitt
College of William and Mary

Tal Y. Shutkin
Ohio State University

Cheyenne M. Siverly
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Madelyn M. Smith
Louisiana State University

Krti Tallam
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Megan J. Tom
Arizona State University

Tarlynn N. Tone-Pah-Hote
University of Minnesota-Morris

Megan R. Tyminski
University of Missouri-Columbia

Aaron F. Weckstein
Temple University

Elizabeth F. Wilkes
University of Georgia

Daniel K. Wu
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Stamps Scholarships Are Only for Certain Colleges, and They Are not Need-Based

The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation partners with visionary colleges and universities to award multi-year scholarships that enable extraordinary educational experiences.

Scholars receive annual awards that range from $72,000 to $5,000 (four-year awards total an average of $288,000 – $20,000) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training. The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation and partner schools evenly share the costs of the awards.

The unique benefit that all Stamps Scholarships include is an enrichment fund, an additional monetary fund for Scholars to use in their academic and professional development. They may use the award to study or volunteer outside the United States, conduct research, or participate in a leadership program or academic conference. We like to think of this part of the award as the “dream fund.”

Where to Apply

Applying for a Stamps Scholarship is easy: just apply to one or more of our partner schools. If you qualify, you’ll automatically be considered for a Stamps award. The majority of our partner colleges and universities don’t require a separate application for the Stamps Scholarship, but the application deadline and award process varies from school to school along with the amount of the award. Expect an interview (or two or three) to be part of the process.

Visit the website of the school or schools of your choice to find out more about their unique application process and deadlines.

The Stamps Foundation, with its partner schools, seeks students who demonstrate academic merit, strong leadership potential, and exceptional character.  We support exceptional young people with promise and vision who are eager to make their contribution to the world and have the work ethic to make their dreams a reality.

Leadership development is at the core of the Stamps Scholarship program. Leadership potential is also a key part of the selection criteria for receiving a Stamps award. And, Stamps Scholars receive a separate financial award to participate in leadership activities of their choosing.

The Stamps Foundation welcomes and supports students from all backgrounds and areas of study. Financial need is not a consideration. At some of our partner schools, international students are eligible for the Stamps Scholarship. Students should check directly with the program that they are interested in to view eligibility requirements.

Stamps Scholarships are not transferable to other colleges or universities.

Selection Process

A student must apply directly to one or more of our partner schools to be considered for the Stamps Scholarship.

At certain schools, the Stamps Scholarship Program is part of an umbrella program for scholars, such as the Foundation Fellows at the University of Georgia or the Carolina Scholars at the University of South Carolina.

In many cases, students who apply by certain deadlines (often the early or ‘scholarship’ deadline) using the normal freshman application for admission will be automatically considered for the Stamps Scholarship.  In some cases, however, our partner school may request a separate application for consideration of the Stamps Scholarship.

Speak with an admissions counselor or visit the website of the school or schools of your choice to find out more about their unique application process and deadlines.

Colleges Offering Stamps Scholarships:

Barry
Caltech
Chicago
Connecticut
William and Mary
Dartmouth
Elizabethtown
Florida
Georgia Tech
LSU
Mercer
Miami Ohio
Morehouse
Oberlin
Purdue
Ohio St
Tulane
Air Force Academy
West Point
Naval Academy
UC Berkeley
UCLA
Illinois
Georgia
Maryland
Univ of Miami
Frost School of Music, Univ of Miami
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Notre Dame
Oregon
Pitt
South Carolina
USC
UT Austin
Virginia, Darden School of Business
Virginia, Jefferson Scholars
Washington
Wisconsin
Virginia Tech
Virginia-Maryland Vet Medicine
Wake Forest
Washington Univ St. Louis

 

UC Berkeley, UT Austin Lead Publics in NSF Graduate Research Grants

The National Science Foundation has named 2017 grantees for the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NFSGRFP). UC Berkeley and UT Austin led all public universities while MIT and Cornell led private institutions.

Below please see a list of the 50 universities with the most NSFGRFP grants in 2017.

For the 2017 competition, NSF received over 13,000 applications, and made 2,000 award offers.

Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, Google founder, Sergey Brin, and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.

Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

NSF 2017 top 50 pubpriv.xlsx

NSF Grants 2017Top 50
UC Berkeley64
MIT59
Cornell43
Harvard36
Yale35
UT Austin34
Stanford32
Brown30
Princeton29
Washington27
UC San Diego25
UCLA25
Wisconsin24
North Carolina22
Arizona St21
Columbia21
Florida21
Georgia Tech20
Michigan19
Maryland18
Rice18
Arizona17
Minnesota17
USC17
Caltech16
Chicago16
North Carolina St16
Colorado15
Duke15
Illinois15
Penn15
CUNY14
Ohio St14
Pomona14
UC Davis14
Pitt13
Purdue13
Florida St12
Swarthmore12
Tennessee12
UC Irvine12
Virginia12
Auburn11
Johns Hopkins11
UC Riverside11
Clemson10
Georgia Tech10
Northwestern10
Notre Dame10
Texas A&M10
Washington Univ10

Colorado State, Arkansas Each Have Two Truman Scholars in 2017

The University of Arkansas and Colorado State University each have two Truman Scholars for 2017, leading all public universities. This is the second year in a row that the University of Arkansas has had two Truman Scholars.

Twenty-six of the 62 Truman Scholars this year are students at public universities, and most are honors students. Three scholars have already served on active-duty in the military.

Yale University led with three scholars. Barnard College and Cornell had two scholars in 2017.

Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be academically excellent and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman program drew 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities. The 62 recipients were chosen from 199 finalists by 16 independent selection panels on the basis of the students’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

The program has selected 3,139 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

The recipients from public universities are listed below:

Judson Adams, University of Louisville
Mussab Ali, University of Rutgers-Newark
Ryan Alonso, University of Arkansas
Taylor Cofield, University of Missouri
Francis Commercon, Colorado State University
Thomas Dowling, University of Illinois
Mohamed Elzark, University of Cincinnati
Jonathan Espinoza, West Texas A&M University
Rachel Gallina, Boise State University
Autumn Guillotte, University of Rhode Island
Sam Harris, University of Arkansas
Hanan “Alex” Hsain, North Carolina State University
Nadine Jawad, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Rachel Johnson, University of Northern Iowa
Kilaulani Kaawa-Gonzales, Colorado State University
David Lascz, US Naval Academy
Attifa Latif, University of Virginia
Claire Lynch, City College CUNY
Killian McDonald, Clemson University
Athena McNinch, University of Guam
Mikaela Meyer, Purdue University
Karen Rosario-Ortiz, University of Puerto Rico
Joseph Russell, George Mason University
Matthew Salm, University of Texas at Dallas
Taylor Zabel, University of Kansas

Mitchell Scholars 2018: Prestige, Support for Recipients…and Applicants

Editor’s Note: The following information comes from the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, sponsors of the prestigious Mitchell Scholarship.We applaud the program’s support for both applicants and winners of the award.

November 19, 2016–The US-Ireland Alliance selected the 12 members of the 2018 Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars following interviews held Washington, D.C.

Members of the class include a military veteran; a young man working for the City of Flint; a young woman working to combat food insecurity in Kansas; a quarterback for an NCAA Division 1 football team; a future doctor who seeks to provide quality healthcare services to transgender people; and a future economist who serves as a research assistant in the White House Office the National Drug Control Policy.

The selection committee includes Frank Bruni, New York Times Op-Ed Columnist and the author of three bestselling books, including Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. One of his columns, “A Prudent College Path,” presented a very positive view of public university honors programs. The Mitchell program is very interested in applicants from honors students.

The scholarship program was created nearly 20 years ago by Trina Vargo, founder of the US-Ireland Alliance. This year, the nationwide competition attracted 323 applicants (up 14% from the previous year) for the 12 scholarships named in honor of the former Maine Senator’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service and spend a year of post-graduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.

Carolina Chavez, the new Director of the Mitchell Scholarship Program, worked previously for ten years on the Fulbright program at the Department of State. Chavez noted that in all of her experience, “I can tell you that the Mitchell Scholar network is exceptionally strong. Our alumni are involved and important to each other, to the Program, and to Ireland.”

Current sponsor of the Mitchell Scholarship program include Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills, Morgan Stanley, CRH and the American Ireland Fund.

“There are numerous applicants who are incredibly talented,” Ms. Vargo said. “While we can’t offer them all a scholarship, we recognize the major effort entailed in simply applying, and we wanted to find ways to help increase their opportunities….This year, we have initiated a process whereby the resumes of applicants may be shared with our major sponsors. This is a win-win given that recruitment of top talent is a priority for many companies.”

Those selected today will begin their studies in Ireland in September 2017.

George J. Mitchell Scholarship, Class of 2018

Joel Arnold graduated from Michigan State University with a double major in Social Relations/Policy and Urban and Regional Planning. A native of Flint, Michigan, Joel is currently a Blight Management Analyst for the City of Flint and administers the Love Your Block Program, which provides residents and local organizations with no-cost resources to perform major beautification efforts….He will study Urban Policy Stream at University College Dublin.

Margaret Born is a senior at Michigan State University, double majoring in Arabic and Comparative Cultures and Politics. Born to American aid workers in South Africa, Margaret grew up in Mozambique and moved to Wyoming for high school. Interested in issues of diversity and inclusion, she founded Project Nur at MSU in 2013, a student-led organization focused on combating Islamophobia on campus….Margaret aspires to work on international refugee policy and she will study International Development, Environment, and Conflict at Dublin City University.

Theodore L. Caputi is a senior majoring in Mathematics and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Interested in the factors that contribute to drug and alcohol addiction since high school, Theodore is currently a White House research assistant in the Office of National Drug Control Policy where he conducts analysis of the nation’s drug prevention and treatment strategies. Theodore has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals…. He will study Public Health Promotion at University College Cork.

Donovan Hicks is a recent graduate of Wofford College where he double majored in Government and Finance. A native of South Carolina, Donovan became attuned to the inequities in his community at an early age. As a college freshman, he began a long-term internship with South Carolina Legal Services, providing legal assistance to persons well below the poverty line…. He will study Race, Ethnicity, and Conflict at Trinity College Dublin.

Meghan Hind is a senior at Harvard majoring in Neurobiology. Her interests lie in the brain circuitry behind decision-making and how beliefs and behaviors affect the decision-making process. She has organized and executed several wellness programs for her Harvard classmates, most recently serving as the Director of Workshops for LifeHack Improvitas, which brought prominent figures to campus to discuss self-improvement… She will study Values and Knowledge at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Peter Kiernan is a senior majoring in Political Science at Columbia University. Raised on Long Island, Pete joined the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after high school and became the youngest Marine to serve in the elite Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. After six years of service, Pete enrolled at Columbia where he founded the Ivy League Veterans Council, a not-for-profit dedicated to provide veterans equal access to top colleges and universities….He will study Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin.

Miranda Klugesherz obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Communication Studies from Hastings College and is currently a Master’s degree student in Communications Studies at Kansas State University. Concerned with food insecurity for much of her life, she currently serves as the Chair of the Junction City Food Policy Council, which advises the City Commission on matters related to the local food system…. She will study Social Policy at University College Cork.

Elizabeth (Ellie) Sell is a senior Chemistry student at Princeton University and an Emergency Medical Technician with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. As a research assistant at Children’s National Medical Center, Ellie used data from a trauma registry and GIS mapping to identify neighborhoods where certain types of injuries were more prevalent, giving her fellow health educators information to better hone their outreach efforts….An aspiring physician, she will study Gender, Sexuality and Culture at University College Dublin.

Lacey Smith is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she majored Health and Human Sciences.  A native of the Los Angeles area, Lacey is currently working in Haiti as a Global Health Fellow with Medical Missionaries, a US-based volunteer organization….She will study Immunology and Global Health at Maynooth University.

Tyler Swafford is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University majoring in Globalization and International Affairs. He is the starting quarterback of the Division I EKU football team and serves on the EKU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as the liaison between the team and the EKU administration. He has twice received the Ohio Valley Conference Academic Medal of Honor for having the highest GPA (4.0) on the football team…. An aspiring human rights attorney, he will study Geopolitics and Global Economy at University College Dublin.

May Treuhaft-Ali is a senior at Wesleyan University majoring in Theater Studies. With a belief that theater has the power to question and deconstruct systems of power, May has written and directed plays for Wesleyan’s Theater Department and Second Stage. Her plays were selected twice by the LA-based Blank Theatre Company’s Young Playwrights Festival, a national competition for young writers…. She will study Theatre and Performance at Trinity College Dublin.

Kathleen White is a graduate of Manhattan College and holds a degree in History and Peace Studies. A social justice advocate, Kathleen joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after college and served as Outreach Coordinator for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth where she worked on abolishing juvenile life without parole….Kathleen will study Sociology at University College College Cork.

Rhodes Scholars 2017: Ivies Down a Bit, UVA Has Two

The Rhodes Scholarships continue to be awarded mainly to students from private colleges and universities, but the latest group of 32 students does include “only” 10 from Ivy League universities. Public universities with 2017 scholars are Virginia (2), Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, and UT Austin, for a total of seven.

The new list of Rhodes Scholars (awarded in November 2016 for the year 2017) includes four from Harvard, far and away the cumulative leader among all schools; one from Princeton, two from Yale, and one each from Dartmouth and Cornell. In the previous two years, the Ivy League had 14 of the 32 awards won by American students. In 2013 there were 16.

The University of  Virginia has now had six Rhodes Scholars since 2013.  UVA and North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the leaders among all state universities in the number of Rhodes Scholars earned by their graduates. UVA has 53 Rhodes Scholars, and UNC Chapel Hill has 49.

The University of Georgia, with another Rhodes winner this year for a total of 24, is notable for having almost all of its many prestigious award winners being members or graduates of the honors program.

Montana State University, despite its relatively small size, now has 11 Rhodes Scholars this year to go with an extremely high number of Goldwater Scholars.

The University of Texas at Austin now has 31 Rhodes Scholars.

Once again, the service academies are well-represented: both the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point had Rhodes winners.

Universities of Alabama and Arkansas Each Have Two Truman Scholars for 2016

The University of Arkansas and the University of Alabama each have two Truman Scholars for 2016, leading all public universities. Almost half of the 54 Truman Scholars this year are students at public universities, and most are honors students.

Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be academically excellent and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman program drew 775 candidates nominated by 305 colleges and universities. The recipients were chosen from 197 finalists by 16 independent selection panels on the basis of the students’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

The program has selected 3,077 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

Below are the 2016 awardees who attend public universities:

Victoria Maloch, a member of the honors college at the University of Arkansas

Daniela Estrada, University of California-Irvine

Elizabeth Hale, an honors program student at Colorado State University

Sarah Hartman, an honors program student at the University of Delaware

Amalia Gomez-Rexrode, University of Michigan

Wendy Ruiz, Florida International University

Dana Sweeney, an honors college student at the University of Alabama

Zoie Sheets, an honors college student at University of Illinois-Chicago

Danielle Neighbour, an honors college student at the University of Arkansas

Hannah Wilson, a McConnell Scholar at the University of Louisville

Chauncey Stephens,a student in the Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State University

Lia Petrose, a student in the honors college at the University of Pittsburgh

Natalie Jones, a member of the honors college at Mississippi State University

Maria Kalaitzandonakes, University of Missouri

Levi Birky, an honors college student at Montana State University

Hannah Kelley, a member of the honors college at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Madelaine Britt, University at Buffalo SUNY

Jed Hanson, University of North Dakota

Jeremy Allen, University of Oklahoma

Jory Fleming, a Capstone Scholar at the University of South Carolina

Josh Arens, an honors student at the University of South Dakota

Vaughn Vargas, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Zoraima Pelaez, a Liberal Arts Honors student at the University of Texas at Austin

Madelyn Fife, an honors student and Huntsman Scholar at Utah State University

Jill Ferguson, a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia

Deshawn McKinney, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Best Major Universities for Merit Scholarships–Part Two

Note: This post has now been updated as of December 19, 2017–but merit scholarships are fewer than ever, and the awards are generally smaller, though many are still generous.

Many of the scholarships offered by the public and private institutions listed below are NOT restricted to National Merit Scholars. We include them to show “full ride” and other high-value options. If you find an error below, please notify editor@publicuniversityhonors.com.

The world of merit awards has been changing rapidly in the last decade. Many colleges that continue to provide generous merit scholarships and that used to require or prefer National Merit Finalist status for the most valuable scholarships no longer affiliate with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The reasons vary. Often these awards now go to students who are National Merit Finalists but who can be selected for other reasons.

The colleges below in bold are those that still specify National Merit status for at least some of their major awards. These offer National Merit aid of $2,000 a year or more. Many of the universities not in bold do sponsor National Merit Scholarships of $2,000 a year or less. Although automatic scholarships specifically tied to National Merit status are in decline, National Merit Finalists will almost always be among the top candidates for merit awards.

Many colleges offer few or no merit awards of any kind now, because they believe that they need to allocate their funds only on the basis of financial need.

In a separate post, Best Major Universities for National Merit Scholarship Funding, we use the official annual reports of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to list the universities that sponsor some form of NMS scholarships, even though the individual award amounts are frequently small.

Another post on this site lists the colleges that offer the prestigious Stamps Scholarships.

These range from tuition to full ride, and in some cases (e.g., Chicago), these are the only merit scholarships offered by the college.

And here is a list published by U.S. News that shows colleges with highest percentage of merit aid, based on enrollment. This map does not assess actual net remaining costs after merit aid, however.

In this post, we will provide a table that shows more than 115 universities, public and private, which provide full or partial tuition, tuition “plus”, or full ride, and full ride merit scholarships. In most cases, the tuition is at least at the in-state level. Tuition “plus” means that the extra award can include stipends or one or more years of housing. Full ride is tuition, room, board, and often additional funds for study abroad, conferences, and other activities.

The more prestigious the university, the more likely it is that the test score and GPA requirements will at least match stats for National Merit Finalists, even if the scholarship is not tied directly to National Merit awards. It is noteworthy that universities previously known for “full rides” have lowered the merit offerings, often to a level below that of a true full ride, especially for National Merit Scholars. Among these schools are Oklahoma, Alabama, and Texas A&M, although some form of scholarship “stacking” might yield a few more full rides than indicated by the list.

Note: Merit scholarships are constantly changing; the list below is at best a snapshot for 2017-2018.

It is important to know that some of the universities listed offer VERY FEW scholarships of the type listed. For example, the Jefferson Scholarships at the University of Virginia are valued at $150,000 (in-state) and $280,000 (OOS), but only 36 extremely fortunate students are selected from more than 2,000 candidates. These students must be nominated by participating high schools in different regions of the nation.

Again, colleges that continue to offer National Merit-specific scholarships that are greater than $2,000 per year are in bold.

University Award Type In State/OOS
Alabama 8 academic elite ~full ride Both
Appalachian St full ride Wilson Schols Both
Arizona full ride Both
Arizona State tuition plus Both
Arkansas full ride close Both
Auburn tuition plus Both
Baylor full ride Both
Boston College tuition Gabelli Schols Both
Boston University tuition 20 Trustee Schols Both
Case Western tuition Both
Centre full ride Brown schol Both
Chicago Stamps full ride very few Both
Cincinnati full ride In State
Clark full ride, few LEEP Both
Clemson full ride 8 National Schols Both
Colorado College 10k year Both
Connecticut Stamps full ride In State
Cooper Union half tuition Both
Davidson full ride Both
Delaware dupont schols ~full ride Both
Denison tuition Both
Drake 16-21k/year Both
Drexel tuition Both
Duke full ride, tuition, limited Both
Emory woodruff schols full ride Both
Fordham presidential tuition+room Both
Furman full ride Both
Georgia foundation fellows, full Both
Georgia State 22k/yr in st; 31k/yr OOS Both
Georgia Tech presidential full ride Both
Harvey Mudd tuitioin presidential schols Both
Holy Cross tuition, few Bptj
Houston Tier One, tuition + 2yrs rm/bd Both
Idaho full ride Both
Illinois Full ride/tuition In State
Indiana wells scholars ~full ride Both
Iowa 74k to 80k total Both
Iowa State full tuition In State
Kansas 10k year In State
Kent St tuition Both
Kentucky full ride Singletary Both
Kenyon tuition Both
Lehigh tuition Both
Louisville full ride Brown schol Both?
Loyala Chicago 17k-22k/yr Both
LSU 32k/yr in st; 49k/yr OOS full Both
Maine up to full ride Both
Maryland full ride Banneker Key Both
Massachusetts partial tuition Mostly OOS
Miami Univ tuition Both
Michigan St tuition and full ride Both
Michigan Tech 10-13k/yr Both
Minnesota 10k year Both
Minnesota Morris tuition Both
Mississippi full ride Both
Mississippi St full ride presidential Both
Nebraska tuition plus Both
Nevada Las Vegas full ride Both
Nevada Reno 16k/yr Both
New Hampshire 5k-10k Both
New Mexico 19 k Both
New Mexico St tuition plus Both
NJIT tuition plus Both
North Carolina full ride few Both
NC Charlotte Levine full ride Both
North Carolina St full ride few In Region
Northeastern tuition Univ Scholars Both
Notre Dame tuition few Both
Ohio St 50k to full ride Eminence Both
Ohio Univ 20k in st; 30 k OOS Both
Oklahoma St tuition plus Both
Oklahoma 117 k OOS Both
Oregon Stamps, few; In st 9k/yr Both
Oregon St 32k total Both
Pitt full ride Both
Purdue 12-16k OOS; 10k/yr in st Both
Rhodes 22k to full tuition Both
Rice 25-27k per year Both
Richmond 5k to full ride Both
Rochester 2k to full tuition Both
Rutgers 3.5k to 27.4k/year Both
Santa Clara up to full ride Johnson schols Both
SMU tuition presidential Both
South Carolina full ride, McNair; 10k/yr NMS Both
Southern Illinois full ride Both
Southern Miss full ride Both
Stevens Inst Tech tuition Neupauer Both
St. Louis Univ 3k to 20k/ year Both
Swarthmore tuition+ McCabe Schols Both
Syracuse Coronat tuition Plus Both
TCU tuition Chancellors Both
Texas A&M $46k total value Both
Texas St 10 k/year NMS Both
Texas Tech full ride Both
Trinity San Antonio tuition, Murchison Both
Truman St up to 10k/year Both
Tulane tuition plus Both
Tulsa full ride Both
UCF full ride Both
UCLA Stamps, few Both
Univ at Buffalo tuition, with some stacking Both
Univ of Miami 5k to full ride Both
Univ of North Texas 118k in state; 170k OOS Both
USC tuition plus Both
UT Arlington 20 k per year Both
UT Austin  14-15 full, 40 Acres Schols Mostly TX
UT Dallas full ride McDermott Both
UT Tyler full ride Both
Utah 35k total value Mostly UT
Va Commonwealth 98k total In State
Vanderbilt tuition plus, multiple Both
Vermont 62k in st; 15-18k/yr OOS Both
Villanova full ride presidential Both
Virginia full ride-33 Jefferson Schols Both
Wake Forest full ride Both
Washington St tuition plus Both
West Virginia 21k/yr OOS; full ride in Both
William and Mary in-state full ride equiv Both
Wofford full ride Both
WPI tuition Foisie Both
WUSTL tuition danforth, others Both
Wyoming up to 150% res tuition Both