automatic full-tuition (or better scholarships) for National Merit Semifinalists?

I’m optimistic about our DD reaching Finalist status, but is anyone aware of automatic full-tuition (or better) scholarships for students who do not advance beyond Semifinalist status? Just trying to be safe with our applications. Thanks!

Some potential ones I’ve found appear to be:
Washington St
Arizona St
Southern Mississippi

But, besides Harding, I’m not sure if the info is completely up-to-date

Fordham is not automatic. 70% of admitted NMSF get a tuition waiver.

NMF status is pretty much guaranteed barring certain circumstances (failing grades, disciplinary actions etc.) UCF offers NMSF a fee waiver, automatic acceptance + Honors, and a full-ride once you become a NMF, although you have to submit official test scores.

Hope that helps!

NMSC mentions that about 15,000 or the 16,000 semifinalists reach finalist. I guess 6% of the students who did really well on the PSAT generally don’t also have good grades or just don’t follow through with the application? I suppose there are kids that do well on tests, but don’t apply themselves to classwork - or somehow the test score could be a fluke, but that seems uncommon.

Vast majority of semi-finalists become finalists. So the odds are in your favor. But in addition to that, its not a random process in terms of advancing to finalist. So its not the case that each semi-finalist has a 1/16 change of not making finalist. Did your daughter get a confirming school on SAT/ACT? Good grades (don’t need to be perfect). Any disciplinary issues at school?

What is the history of semi-finalists making finalist at her school? Some schools rarely have semi-finalists and they don’t really know what to do. Other schools have a given number every year and have the process down very well. My kids’ school had several every year and every one became finalists. My daugther was convinced that a classmate would not make finalist but every semi-finalist that year became a finalist.

Some semi-finalists do not complete the paperwork. May not matter for them. Good PSAT school likely meant good SAT or ACT score and that is all they needed. Wouldn’t have even taken the PSAT but for fact that it was mandatory. Some schools also have little experience with the process. There have been people here who had to hold their kid’s school’s hand through the process to get everything submitted. My kids’ school handled everything without issue.

One thing to consider, if your daughter is on the cusp in terms of grades or had disciplnary issues (seems unlikely), academic scholarships typically require the student to remain in good standing with a minimum grade point average. If there were issues in high school that prevented being a finalist, those issues may follow to college and any scholarship may be lost. Then you would be stuck paying what may be out of state tuition, bringing them home or transferring.

Good luck to your daughter. Expect that she will be a finalist.

@saillakeerie Yes, most students will become finalists, though those who get a scholarship is ~1/2 of the 15000 (choosing a sponsoring college or receiving a corporate or NM scholarship that can be used anywhere.) Just wanted to note that this year, the ACT/SAT will not be used to determine finalists, though no one but NMSC knows how that will impact their selection process for their own and corporate scholarships.

That is good to know. Subject matter of this thread though is full tuition or better scholarships from colleges (so NM or corporate scholarships are not the issue).

Ya, it was a little bit of a bummer not to be able to include her confirming 34 ACT as part of the application. Our school has numerous NMF every year, so they’re well versed in the process and submitted everything on time, so I assume it will all be fine.

Highly recommend UCF, my DD 18 is living the life free of all student debt. She actually makes enough on the scholarship that she has enough for Disney and Universal passes and lots of extras. Great school, great deal. Charge On

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,
• Florida Atlantic University,
• Florida International University,
• Florida State University,
• New College of Florida,
• University of Central Florida,
• University of Florida,
• University of Miami, and
• University of South Florida

Note that ERAU and U of Miami are private schools. Benacquisto will pay about $22k for the tuition and the other benefits ($600 for books, some toward R&B) but doesn’t guarantee to be a full ride. ERAU and UMiami may have other scholarships available to make up the difference.

@ClassOf21inIowa It should be fine, the application’s largely a formality if you put a decent amount of effort in, unless you have failing grades etc.

@Phlipper , she’s applied to FSU and USF. Was UCF able to guarantee the full COA scholarship for 4 years even if State of Florida defunds Benacquisto while your DD is there?

All Florida public schools as well as Alabama, Ole Miss , Southern Miss and Mississippi State would all pay for majority of costs is not full COA.

The Florida Benacquisto scholarship is full COA PLUS some extras. Most students end up with more than Tuition, room and board. There is a book allowance of $600/yr. Some of the schools also award their own scholarships and allow them to stack.

It’s a lot of money.

Arizona State offers 100% tuition to NMF. My DS is a junior on this program. We pay Room & Board through a combination of Fed Student loans and out of pocket.

If your student’s major is a strong one at ASU, I would recommend it as worth a look. You can graduate in 4 years, priority registration if you are in Barrett Honors College. I’d be happy to answer any questions. I’m on my second Sun Devil right now.

Ole Miss has a tuition plus scholarship for semifinalists. They add more when the student advances to finalist.

We are in same boat. Hope not having the help of ACT is irrelevant.

UMaine is automatic I think (and room and board!). Plus, you don’t even have to list it as your first choice. This is new for the HS Class of ‘21, and I highly recommend you take advantage if you can! They are also rolling tuition with an honors college and a free app:) Also I THINK (not sure) University of Miami and OU are either automatic or you’d have a high likelihood of getting a full tuition.