featured graphic for National Merit Scholarships during COVID-19

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners

Today, National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced over 3,300 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. An additional group of Scholars will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2020 competition to about 4,100.

This year, 167 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 92 private and 75 public institutions located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners announced today are a part of the distinguished group of about 7,600 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth over $30 million. Earlier this spring, NMSC announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and National Merit $2500 Scholarships.

2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition

Over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 16,000 Semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2020.

NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of National Merit Scholarships provided each year are made possible by the support of approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors. These sponsors join NMSC in its efforts to enhance educational opportunities for America’s scholastically talented youth and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.

The following is a list of local student winners:

Michael J. Kim, CYPRESS 90630
Probable career field: Computer Science
NATIONAL MERIT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP
The University of Southern California is private, coeducational, and nonsectarian, and is located in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. Undergraduate enrollment is nearly 14,000 students. A College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is complemented by 19 professional and graduate schools offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. Graduate enrollment is about 12,000.

Lauren R. McWilliams, HUNTINGTON BEACH 92648
Probable career field: Medicine
NATIONAL MERIT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP
Pepperdine University consists of a Liberal Arts College at Malibu, a Professional Studies College in central Los Angeles, Graduate School, School of Education, School of Business, Center for International Trade, and a Law School. Total enrollment is about 8,500, with students from all states and forty foreign countries. Undergraduate curriculum provides preprofessional training in many fields.

Mark Grujic ANAHEIM 92808
Probable career field: Law
NATIONAL MERIT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP
Vanderbilt University is an independent, privately supported university located in Nashville, Tennessee. It was founded in 1873 and is named after Cornelius Vanderbilt who provided funds to establish the university. The university offers undergraduate programs in Liberal Arts, Music, Engineering, Education, and Human Development. Graduate programs are offered in the Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Business, Engineering, Nursing, Divinity, Law, Medicine, and Public Policy.

Ethan A. Ong ANAHEIM 92808
Probable career field: Biology
NATIONAL MERIT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP
The University of Southern California is private, coeducational, and nonsectarian, and is located in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. Undergraduate enrollment is nearly 14,000 students. A College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is complemented by 19 professional and graduate schools offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. Graduate enrollment is about 12,000.

This article was released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.