(678)-710-3699 info@collegetransitions.com

Selective Colleges Offering National Merit Scholarships

Out of the 1.6 million American teens who sit for the PSAT/NMSQT, only about 15,000 individuals will go on to be named National Merit Scholarship Finalists. These exceptional teens not only scored insanely well on the PSAT, but also bring an exceptional high school transcript to the table. Universities have the option to sponsor a National Merit Scholarship in an effort to net freshmen who have earned this impressive distinction. However, many highly-selective schools like those in the Ivy League or Ivy-equivalent colleges choose not to participate in this merit-based scholarship program. After all, schools of this ilk naturally attract more applicants with these qualifications than they can even admit.

The following list contains 68 competitive public and private institutions that do indeed offer awards to National Merit Finalists, albeit of greatly varying amounts. For each school, we list the annual award granted by the school (from $500 all the way to full cost of attendance), whether you need to declare the college as your “first choice” through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), and whether or not the scholarship is granted automatically to qualifying students. Parlaying your status as a National Merit Scholar Finalist into a steep tuition discount is entirely possible, if you explore the schools on the list that follows.

Table Updated June 2020

InstitutionAnnual Award (Semi-Finalist)Annual Award (Finalist)First-Choice Required?Guaranteed?
American UniversityNone$2,000YesNo
Arizona State UniversityUp to Full TuitionUp to Full TuitionNoNo
Auburn UniversityUp to $10,500 per year plus stipendUp to $10,500 per year plus stipendYesNo
Baylor UniversityNoneUp to $22,000YesNo
Boston CollegeNone$1,000YesNo
Boston UniversityNone$25,000YesYes
Bowdoin CollegeNone$1,000-$2,000YesYes
Brandeis CollegeNone$500YesYes
Brigham Young UniversityNoneFull TuitionYesNo
Carelton CollegeNoneMinimum $2,000YesYes
Case Western Reserve UniversityNone$1,000-$2,000YesNo
Clemson UniversityNone$1,500NoYes
Colby CollegeNone$500-$1,000YesYes
Dickinson CollegeNone$2,000YesNo
Emory UniversityNone$2,000YesYes
Florida State UniversityNoneFull COANoYes
Fordham UniversityFull TuitionFull TuitionNoNo
Franklin W. Olin College of EngineeringNone$1,000YesNo
Furman UniversityNone$1,000-$2,000YesNo
Grinnell CollegeNone$2,000YesNo
Harvey Mudd CollegeNone$1,500YesYes
Indiana University - BloomingtonNone$2,000YesYes
Iowa State UniversityNone$5,000YesYes
Kenyon CollegeNone$1,000NoYes
Lawrence UniversityNone$2,000YesNo
Loyola University ChicagoNone$2,000YesYes
Macalster CollegeNone$2,000YesYes
Miami University - OxfordNone$2,000YesNo
Michigan State UniversityNone$750-$2,000YesYes
New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNoneFull COANoNo
Northeastern UniversityNone$10,000-$28,000NoNo
Northwestern UniversityNone$500YesNo
Oberlin CollegeNone$1,000YesNo
Occidental CollegeNone$500-$2,000NoNo
Pennsylvania State UniversityMaximum $2,000Maximum $2,000YesNo
Pepperdine UniversityNone$1,000-$2,000YesNo
Purdue UniversityNone$500YesYes
Rhodes CollegeNone$500-$2,000NoYes
Rochester Institute of TechnologyNone$2,000 plus highest Pres. Schol.YesYes
Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyNone$1,000-$2,000NoYes
Rutgers UniversityNone$1,000YesNo
Santa Clara UniversityNone$2,000YesYes
Southern Methodist UniversityNone$5,000YesYes
Texas A&M University$3,000$7,000NoYes
Texas Tech UniversityNoneFull COAYesNo
Trinity UniversityNone$2,000YesNo
Tufts UniversityNone$1,000NoNo
Tulane UniversityNone$2,000YesYes
University of Alabama$26,000Full COA plus stipendNoYes
University of Arizona$13,500$18,000YesYes
University of FloridaNone$500YesYes
University of KansasNone$10,000YesYes
University of KentuckyNoneFull Tuition plus housing stipendYesYes
University of MarylandNone$750-$1,000YesNo
University of MiamiNone$1,000-$2,000YesNo
University of Minnesota - Twin CitiesNone$11,000YesNo
University of RichmondNone$750-$2,000YesNo
University of RochesterNoneVariesYesNo
University of South CarolinaNoneUp to $10,000YesNo
University of Southern CaliforniaNone$28,000+YesYes
University of TulsaFull TuitionFull TuitionYesNo
University of Wisconsin - MadisonNone$3,000YesNo
Washington and LeeNone$750-$3,750YesYes
Washington State UniversityFull TuitionFull TuitionYesNo
Whitman CollegeNone$2,000NoYes
Vanderbilt UniversityNone$2,000-$5,000NoYes
Villanova UniversityNone$500-$2,000YesYes
Whitman CollegeNone$1,000-$2,000YesYes
3d Book Cover Small

Colleges Worth Your Money

A Guide to what America's Top Schools Can Do for You

“Innovative and invaluable...use this book as your college lifeline.”

-Lynn O'Shaughnessy, Nationally Recognized College Expert