National Merit Scholarships Awarded To Student Winners

The National Merit Scholarships have been awarded to students throughout the country today. Awards range from $500 to $2,000 annually for four years of undergraduate college studies. The ongoing announcements continue through June and result in about 7,600 scholarship winners.

About 2,200 National Merit Scholarship winners were announced today.

The scholarships are awarded upon students after the academic competition assesses the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) scores for approximately 1.5 million students each year.

Colleges sponsor the scholarships for the winners. For the upcoming year, 184 institutions of higher education are underwriting the program’s awards. There are 107 private colleges and 77 public colleges involved, representing 44 states and the District of Columbia.

The total of scholarships awarded amounts to about $34 million.

Out of roughly 22,000 high schools, 1.4 million juniors took the 2015 National Merit Scholarship qualifying PSAT as the initial screening. Last year, about 16,000 semifinalists were named using a system that is state-representational. Students are selected proportionally by each state’s percentage within the national total of graduating seniors.

Semifinalists high scores on the PSAT represented less than one percent of the country’s high school seniors.

Once selected as a semifinalist, students had to submit applications, essays and information about their academic and extracurricular resume to compete for the “finalist” spots. SAT scores are also taken into consideration to confirm the initial PSAT screening. For this year, about 15,000 finalists were selected from the semifinalist pool. More than half will be actual scholarship recipients.

Local news and schools across the country have been busy today acknowledging their local scholars.

With college tuition costs becoming more and more a budget concern and college loan debt threat for families and college-bound students, every scholarship helps.

Projected college tuition costs for the class of 2037 will be about $262,000 for a four-year private college and will go over $133,000 for a public college. These numbers use a 7 percent annual growth rate.

While $500 or even $2,000 scholarships will not cover costs, parents and students are encouraged to seek as much assistance outside of traditional financial aid. Currently, students receive an average of $14,000 in financial assistance, according to The College Board, but that includes an assumed student loan debt of almost $5,000 in that figure.

There are a wide range of college scholarships for students with academic, extracurricular, athletic, artistic and even medical qualities. Inquisitr reported about Will Ferrell’s college scholarship efforts with Cancer For College, a charity that raises funds for cancer patients to afford a college education.

Whether a student is scoring highly on the PSAT or not, there is hope for scholarships through many other organizations and programs. Parents and high school seniors are urged to search sooner than later for eligible scholarships.

[Photo courtesy of National Merit.org]