2024-25 National Merit Corporation and Cut Off – USA

Debashish Biswas

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National Scholarship Program Cut off 2024

The 2024-25 National Merit Scholarship Program is a prestigious academic competition that recognizes outstanding high school students across the United States. Since 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has awarded scholarships to high-achieving students through a process that begins with the PSAT exam taken by high school juniors.

Becoming a National Merit Semifinalist or Finalist is a highly selective honour that can open doors to top universities and lucrative scholarships. And the final scholarship program will happen in February 2024. Selected finalists and semifinalists who are looking for their desired colleges can go through it.

Is it Hard to get a National Merit Scholarship?

In 2024, over 1.3 million students entered the competition by taking the preliminary SAT exam. Only 16,000, or approximately 1% of participants, will advance to Semifinalist standing. These academically exceptional students now have the chance to continue in the competition and become Finalists, of which about 7,140 will ultimately earn the prestigious honour of being named a National Merit Scholar.

Competition is especially intense in populous states like California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. California leads the nation with over 2,300 Semifinalists, while Wyoming had only 10 students reach this level. Other states with large numbers of Semifinalists include Texas with 1,860, Florida with 1,744, New York with 1,700, and Illinois with 1,500. This year, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, VA) has the top school by number of 2024 semifinalists.

The road to becoming a National Merit winner is difficult. Semifinalists must maintain outstanding grades throughout high school and receive endorsement from their school to become Finalists. Finalists are chosen based on skills, accomplishments, and future academic potential. Those selected as Merit Scholars gain esteem in the eyes of college admissions officers, often leading to acceptance at top universities. They also receive a monetary scholarship reward sponsored by NMSC or outside corporations and universities.

Earning the title of National Merit Scholar is a career-launching achievement. The competition recognizes academic excellence at a critical juncture, providing benefits that winners can leverage for lifelong success. Many Merit Scholars go on to earn other prestigious scholarships like the Master Mind Scholarships in USA or adoptee scholarships for those who have been adopted. The financial assistance and resume boost these awards provide can make all the difference when pursuing higher education and jumpstarting a career. The competition highlights exceptional students across America, connecting top talent with opportunities to excel. 

What is the National Merit Scholarship worth?

Every year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards approximately 7500 finalists. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards are divided into three categories:

  • National Merit $2500 Scholarships
  • Corporate-sponsored scholarships
  • College-sponsored scholarships.

(a) National Merit $2500 Scholarships:

The National Merit Scholarship Program awards around 2,500 of these scholarships each year. It is a single-payment, non-renewable scholarship of $2500. Every National Merit Finalist is considered for a National Merit Scholarship. Winners are chosen based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans. A committee of college admissions officers and high school counsellors makes the selection.

(b) Corporate-sponsored Scholarships:

These scholarships are provided by corporate sponsors, and there are around 1,000 awarded each year. Sponsors can designate their scholarships for children of their employees, for residents of a community where a company has operations, or for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards, and they may be awarded from $1,000-$10,000 per year.

(c) College-sponsored Scholarships:

Approximately 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 Merit Scholarship awards to Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. These are typically renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study. The college that the Finalist plans to attend must sponsor this type of scholarship.

How Do You Get a Chance for a National Scholarship?

In the national scholarship program of the USA, high school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills etc are measured in this PSAT test. And, from this test score, about 50,000 high scorers are notified that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.

From here, some 16,000 advance to the Finalist level, and the scholarship winners are selected from this group. The reported sponsor college as a first choice by the finalist will start from March 1, 2024. Those selected candidates’ names will be published in different nationwide news which will come at the public level at the beginning of April and final conclusion of the scholarship of about $228 million will come in July.


SL No.DeadlineSchedule
1September 13NMSC introduced 16000 Semifinalists in the news media
2October 7Administration date of SAT
­3October 11Schools transmit completed by using the NMSC of OSA
4October 28Administration date of ACT
5November 4Administration date of SAT
6December 2Semifinalists last date to take the SAT
7December 9Semifinalists last date to take the ACT
8December 31National Merit $2500 Scholarship will not be received by those semifinalists whose SAT or ACT scores have not been received by this given date.
10January 21 Merit Scholarship winners will be announced by the selection committee
11January 31Letter and Document (Outside of USA)
12February 5 Notified high school principals of Semifinalist status, providing Certificates of Merit to eligible Finalists
13February 12 Finalists receive notification of their status by mail and on their OSA dashboard.
14March 1Mid-May
15March 13 NMSC awards corporate-sponsored merit scholarship
16March 21The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards $2500 scholarships to its high-achieving students.
17May 1 NMSC awards corporate-sponsored merit scholarship
18Mid May Merit Scholarship finalists who have not yet been selected will receive notification at their home addresses.
19May 31 Deadline for determining the final group of candidates for college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.
20April 24Merit Scholarship recipients supported by different corporate
21May 8National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners
22June 5 and July 15Merit Scholarship recipients supported by different college

State-by-State Semifinalists Cut-Off Breakdown (2019-2024) | PSAT/NMSQT Cutoffs by State

District of Columbia223223224222223223
New Hampshire215213214215218219
New Jersey223223222222223223
New Mexico207208210211213215
New York220219220220221221
North Carolina217217218217219220
North Dakota207209207209212212
Rhode Island215216213216218220
South Carolina209213213212215216
South Dakota209212210209214215
West Virginia207207207209212212
​U.S. Territories207207207222212212

National Merit Scholarship Predicted Cutoffs 2025

StateExpected Cut Off Range 2025
Alabama 210-215
Alaska 208 – 216
Arizona 214-219
Arkansas 210-215
California 220-223
Colorado 215-222
Connecticut 220-223
Delaware 219-222
District of Columbia 220-224
Florida 214-220
Georgia 216-220
Hawaii 213-221
Idaho 208-215
Illinois 215-222
Indiana 215-220
Iowa 210-218
Kansas 212-220
Kentucky 208-215
Louisiana 210-219
Maine 209-216
Maryland 220-224
Massachusetts 220-222
Michigan 216-222
Minnesota 214-219
Mississippi 210-214
Missouri 210-216
Montana 209-216
Nebraska 210-215
Nevada 210-217
New Hampshire 211-217
New Jersey 220-225
New Mexico 207-217
New York 217-224
North Carolina 214-222
North Dakota 210-215
Ohio 215-220
Oklahoma 210-215
Oregon 215-220
Pennsylvania 215-220
Rhode Island 214-220
South Carolina 210-215
South Dakota 212-217
Tennessee 215-220
Texas 220-223
Utah 210-217
Vermont 210-215
Virginia 220-225
Washington 220-223
West Virginia 207-214
Wisconsin 210-215
Wyoming 210-213
​U.S. Territories 210-212

Schools Analysis

Top Schools Producing Semifinalists 2024

RankSchoolStateNumber of Semifinalists
1Greenwich High SchoolConnecticut20
2Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and TechnologyVirginia19
3University High SchoolIllinois19
4Whitney M. Young Magnet High SchoolIllinois18
5Stuyvesant High SchoolNew York17
6Bronx High School of ScienceNew York17
7Montgomery Blair High SchoolMaryland16
8Walt Whitman High School (Maryland)Maryland16
9New Trier High SchoolIllinois16
10Thomas B. Doherty High SchoolColorado16
11University Liggett SchoolMichigan16
12Illinois Mathematics and Science AcademyIllinois15
13Stevenson High SchoolIllinois15
14Glenbrook North High SchoolIllinois15
15Hinsdale Central High SchoolIllinois14
16Yorktown High SchoolVirginia14
17Georgetown Preparatory SchoolMaryland14
18Lake Forest High SchoolIllinois13
19Maine East High SchoolIllinois13
20Edina High SchoolMinnesota13
21College Park AcademyMaryland13


The National Scholarship program is one of the most prestigious scholarship programs in the USA. It encourages students to be ready for it and also to achieve additional benefits. It also further opens special scholarships for students at the undergraduate level.

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Hi, this is Debashish Biswas. I am a professional BTech Civil Engineer, but since 2020, I have been doing blogging, content writing, website development, SEO work, etc., as a full-time career choice. As I primarily work with computers, I have built my knowledge into it, such as coding, SEO Work, and other computer-related work. I recently joined one of the Schools as a Computer Vocational Teacher. My hobbies are reading books, magazines, and more. I am here to share my valuable knowledge in the education field. If you love my article, share it with your friends. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Thank You to all readers.

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