Top Colleges Awarding National Merit Scholarships in 2024

Ace the National Merit? Don’t settle! Discover the best Colleges Awarding National Merit Scholarships & launch your dream academic journey.

National Merit Scholarships are highly sought-after accolades that recognize outstanding academic achievements among high school students in the United States. These prestigious scholarships often culminate years of dedication to academic excellence and intellectual prowess.

Several top colleges and universities actively participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, affirming their commitment to attracting and nurturing the nation’s brightest minds. While the specific benefits and eligibility criteria can vary between institutions, these scholarships typically offer substantial financial assistance and other perks to deserving students.

One noteworthy aspect of National Merit Scholarships is that they go beyond mere recognition; they provide a pathway for exceptionally talented students to access quality education without excessive tuition costs. This aligns with the broader mission of these institutions to foster an environment of academic excellence and intellectual curiosity.

The colleges awarding National Merit Scholarships often view these students as valuable additions to their academic community. In addition to financial incentives, these scholarships may come with other advantages such as mentorship opportunities, access to exclusive programs, and a supportive network of like-minded peers.

It’s important for aspiring scholars to thoroughly research the specific offerings of each college, as the benefits can differ significantly. Furthermore, the competition for National Merit Scholarships is intense, adding an element of prestige to those who earn this recognition.

Top Colleges Awarding National Merit Scholarships

UNIVERSITYRANKINGBEST FOR
Arizona State University#121 in National UniversitiesStudent life
Florida A&M University#202 in National UniversitiesHBCU
Florida International University#151 in National UniversitiesResearch
Mississippi State University#194 in National UniversitiesFood
New Jersey Institute of Technology#97 in National UniversitiesStarting salary
Oklahoma State University#182 in National UniversitiesHealth conscious
Southern Arkansas University#94 in Regional Universities SouthGreek Life
Texas Tech University#219 in National UniversitiesParty school
University of Alabama at Birmingham#137 in National UniversitiesNursing
University of Idaho#26 in Best Value SchoolsAgricultural sciences
University of Mississippi#151 in National UniversitiesAccounting and finance
University of Texas at Dallas#151 in National UniversitiesSTEM

Arizona State University

Arizona State University, located in Tempe, Arizona, is renowned for its vibrant student life and extensive academic offerings. Here are key details about the university:

– Best For: Student life

– Location: Tempe, Arizona

– School Type: Public research university

– Campus Type: Urban

– Campus Size: 1,989 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $11,618 (in-state) and $30,592 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 88%

– Retention Rate: 85%

– Graduation Rate: 52%

– Student Body: 77,881

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 40% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $40,300 per year

Overview:

Arizona State University is one of the largest postsecondary institutions in the United States, offering a diverse range of over 350 majors for undergraduate students. Popular majors include business support services, biology, psychology, liberal arts and humanities, computer science, communications, political science and government, marketing, and management sciences and information systems.

Campus Life:

While first-time, first-year students are not obligated to live on campus, ASU encourages residence according to chosen majors, fostering a supportive and close-knit residential college community.

Scholarships:

National Merit Scholars at ASU may be eligible for college-sponsored or corporate-sponsored scholarships, with the amount varying based on the campus they enroll in.

Recognition:

With its large and diverse campus, ASU is highly regarded for its campus life. Niche ranks it #37 in Colleges with the Best Student Life in America and #1 in Colleges with the Best Student Life in Arizona.

Arizona State University stands out not only for its academic offerings but also for providing a dynamic and enriching campus experience.

Florida A&M University (FAMU)

Florida A&M University (FAMU), located in Tallahassee, Florida, stands out for its historical significance and commitment to providing a top-notch education. Here are key details about the university:

– Best For: Historically Black College or University (HBCU)

– Location: Tallahassee, Florida

– School Type: Public historically black land-grant university

– Campus Type: City

– Campus Size: 422 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $5,785 (in-state) and $17,725 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 35%

– Retention Rate: 88%

– Graduation Rate: 27%

– Student Body: 9,000

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 42% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $31,600 per year

Overview:

Florida A&M University, as the third-largest historically black university in the U.S. and the only one in Florida, is officially known as Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). It offers a comprehensive selection of 54 bachelor’s degree programs.

Popular Majors:

Among undergraduate students, popular majors include health service preparatory studies, liberal arts and humanities, business, criminal justice and safety studies, psychology, nursing, biology, and social work and youth services.

National Merit Scholars:

National Merit Scholars at FAMU receive awards covering fees associated with tuition.

Diversity:

As a public historically black land-grant university, FAMU has a diverse student population, with 89% being black students, 5% Hispanics, and 3% whites.

Residential Life:

First-time, first-year students and undergraduates with fewer than 30 credit hours from a high school more than 35 miles from campus must live in university-owned or operated residential facilities. Living on campus is considered a rite of passage, and many students choose to do so beyond their freshman year.

Recognition:

FAMU is recognized as the #1 Best HBCU School in America by Niche, affirming its status as an excellent institution for those seeking a remarkable HBCU experience.

Florida A&M University is a beacon of historical and educational significance, offering students a rich and diverse academic journey within the HBCU tradition.

Florida International University

Florida International University (FIU), located in Miami, Florida, is a prominent public research university known for its dedication to research initiatives and a diverse student population. Here are key details about the university:

– Best For: Research

– Location: Miami, Florida

– School Type: Public research university

– Campus Type: Urban

– Campus Size: 344 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $6,566 (in-state) and $18,964 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 64%

– Retention Rate: 91%

– Graduation Rate: 42%

– Student Body: 56,732

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 39% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $38,500 per year

Overview:

As a member of the State University System of Florida, FIU is one of the 12 public institutions of higher education in the state. The university boasts a substantial Hispanic student population, with 67% Hispanic students. Additionally, 12% are Black, and 9% are White.

Degree Programs:

FIU offers an extensive range of degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, with over 190 program options. Undergraduates can choose from nearly 70 majors, covering diverse fields such as psychology, liberal arts and humanities, biology, hospitality and tourism management, finance, criminal justice and safety studies, communications, international business, business, and marketing.

Financial Support for National Merit Scholars:

National Merit Scholars at FIU receive comprehensive support, including full tuition coverage, books, room and board, and guaranteed admission into the Honors College.

Research Focus:

FIU takes pride in its commitment to research, with various colleges, schools, and centers actively contributing to research initiatives. Examples include the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences’ Discovery Lab.

Florida International University stands out for its vibrant research culture, diverse student body, and dedicated support for National Merit Scholars pursuing their academic and research goals.

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

– Best For: Food

– Location: Mississippi State, Mississippi

– School Type: Public land-grant research university

– Campus Type: Rural

– Campus Size: 4,200 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $9,398 (in-state) and $25,444 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 76%

– Retention Rate: 81%

– Graduation Rate: 36%

– Student Body: 23,086

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 46% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $36,600 per year

Overview:

Mississippi State University (MSU) is officially recognized for Agriculture and Applied Science and is commonly known as Mississippi State University. Established to provide training in agriculture, horticulture, and mechanical arts, MSU offers over 175 degree programs. The university is distinguished as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution.

Degree Programs:

With more than 80 majors available for undergraduate students, popular choices include liberal arts and humanities, business, kinesiology and exercise science, mechanical engineering, marketing, psychology, elementary education, and biology. MSU’s undergraduate engineering programs are highly ranked, making it an excellent choice for students interested in engineering.

Food Ranking:

Mississippi State University is renowned for its outstanding food offerings, earning the distinction of being ranked #37 in Best College Food in America and #1 Best College Food in Mississippi by Niche.

National Merit Scholarships:

Full-time freshmen at MSU are required to live on campus. National Merit Scholars attending MSU as in-state students receive $40,000 over four years. Out-of-state National Merit Scholars may also receive scholarships covering 100% of tuition, providing financial support for their academic pursuits.

Mississippi State University stands out for its diverse degree programs, emphasis on agriculture and engineering, exceptional food offerings, and financial support for National Merit Scholars pursuing their education there.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology

– Best For: Starting Salary

– Location: Newark, New Jersey

– School Type: Public research university

– Campus Type: Urban

– Campus Size: 48 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $18,016 (in-state) and $34,034 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 69%

– Retention Rate: 88%

– Graduation Rate: 38%

– Student Body: 11,901

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 31% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $51,100 per year

Overview:

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a public research university located in Newark, New Jersey. With a focus on highly ranked undergraduate degree programs, NJIT stands out in engineering, computer science, and business.

Popular Majors:

Some of the most sought-after majors at NJIT include mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, bioengineering, biomedical engineering, information science, information technology, biology, and business. The university offers a diverse range of over 140 student clubs and organizations for undergraduates.

Starting Salary and Earning Potential:

NJIT is recognized for its strong emphasis on engineering disciplines and business, contributing to the high earning potential of its graduates. The median salary of NJIT alumni after 10 years is $67,200, which is 96% higher than the national median. Computer engineering majors have one of the highest starting salaries at $71,900 annually, followed by electrical engineering majors at $68,300 annually.

National Merit Scholarships:

National Merit Scholars attending NJIT receive financial support restricted to tuition and fees. It’s important to note that the combined value of awards received by National Merit Scholars shall not exceed tuition and fees.

New Jersey Institute of Technology is an excellent choice for students seeking strong engineering, computer science, and business programs, coupled with the potential for a high starting salary upon graduation.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University

– Best For: Health Conscious

– Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma

– School Type: Public University

– Campus Type: City

– Campus Size: 1,489 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $9,244 (in-state) and $24,764 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 68%

– Retention Rate: 84%

– Graduation Rate: 45%

– Student Body: 24,660

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 45% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $42,100 per year

Overview:

Oklahoma State University (OSU), originally known as Oklahoma State University Technical Institute, was established in 1961. Renowned as America’s healthiest campus, OSU takes pride in being the first postsecondary institution in the country to have a chief wellness officer. The campus is tobacco-free, offering students access to a 250,000-square-foot fitness studio with Olympic lifting, kettlebell training, and an indoor running track.

Notable Alumni:

OSU boasts notable alumni, including country music recording artist Garth Brooks, business magnate T. Boone Pickens, and South Korea’s 12th Prime Minister Nam Duck-woo.

Programs and Clubs:

Undergraduate students at OSU have a diverse range of over 70 majors, including business, marketing, liberal arts and humanities, mechanical engineering, animal sciences and husbandry, finance, accounting, psychology, agricultural business, and human development. The university offers highly-ranked undergraduate engineering programs, and students can participate in more than 500 official clubs and organizations.

National Merit Scholarships:

National Merit Scholars at OSU receive a five-year full tuition waiver, combined with state, university, and National Merit funding. The total value of the scholarship can be up to $70,000, providing significant financial support for students pursuing their education at OSU.

Southern Arkansas University

Southern Arkansas University

– Best For: Greek Life

– Location: Magnolia, Arkansas

– School Type: Public University

– Campus Type: Rural

– Campus Size: 1,491 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $8,300 (in-state) and $13,730 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 63%

– Retention Rate: 64%

– Graduation Rate: 36%

– Student Body: 4,434

– Students per Class: Fewer than 20 in 52% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $30,800 per year

Overview:

Founded in 1909 as Third District Agricultural School (TDAS), Southern Arkansas University (SAU) originally served as a district agricultural high school for southwest Arkansas. Offering over 100 degree programs and certifications, SAU provides diverse educational opportunities for students.

Programs and Majors:

SAU offers 32 majors for undergraduate students, including liberal arts and humanities, business, agricultural business, early childhood education, nursing, biology, psychology, kinesiology and exercise science, physics, and criminal justice and safety studies.

Greek Life and Campus Culture:

Recognized for its vibrant Greek Life, SAU ranks #5 in Best Greek Life Colleges in Arkansas 2023, according to Niche. The university is ranked #8 in Top Party Schools in Arkansas. A significant portion of SAU attendees believe that sports play a substantial role in campus life.

Financial Aid and National Merit Scholarships:

In 2020, approximately 77% of first-time, first-year students at SAU received financial aid, with an average award of $5,234. National Merit Scholars at SAU benefit from an active honors community, residing in honors housing facilities like Hotz Honors Hall and Gearhart Hall. These scholars can receive up to $7,500 in scholarship funding, contributing to a rich academic experience.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University

– Best For: Party School

– Location: Lubbock, Texas

– School Type: Public Research University

– Campus Type: City

– Campus Size: 1,839 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $11,852 (in-state) and $24,092 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 68%

– Retention Rate: 85%

– Graduation Rate: 38%

– Student Body: 40,542

– Students Per Class: Fewer than 20 in 30% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $45,500 per year

Overview:

Founded in 1923 as Texas Technological College, Texas Tech University is the primary institution of the Texas Tech University System, encompassing five state universities in Texas. It is a major university, medical school, and law school within the state.

Academic Programs:

Texas Tech offers over 100 academic programs across 10 colleges, providing undergraduate students a diverse range of learning experiences. Top majors at the institution include liberal arts and humanities, mechanical engineering, business, family studies and consumer sciences, kinesiology and exercise science, psychology, marketing, and information science.

Campus Life:

Known for its vibrant campus life, Texas Tech University is recognized as a party school, ranking #3 in Top Party Schools in Texas and #48 in Top Party Schools in America according to Niche. Greek life plays a significant role, with 45% of students acknowledging its importance in the social scene.

National Merit Scholarships:

National Merit Scholars reaching finalist standing and choosing Texas Tech as their top-choice institution are eligible for 100% coverage of the cost of attendance, providing a substantial benefit for these scholars.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham

– Best For: Nursing

– Location: Birmingham, Alabama

– School Type: Public Research University

– Campus Type: Urban

– Campus Size: 437 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $11,040 (in-state) and $26,520 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 89%

– Retention Rate: 86%

– Graduation Rate: 42%

– Student Body: 22,289

– Students Per Class: Fewer than 20 in 47% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $38,300 per year

Overview:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is associated with the UAB Health System, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States. It is renowned for hosting some of the top medical programs in the country, making it an ideal choice for students aspiring to become nurses.

Academic Programs:

UAB offers nearly 200 degree programs. Among undergraduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree, popular majors include nursing, psychology, business, accounting, healthcare management, biology, physical education teaching and coaching, liberal arts and humanities, public health, and criminal justice and corrections. Engineering majors are the highest-paid graduates, earning an average starting salary of $89,000 annually.

National Merit Scholarships:

National Merit finalists at UAB are eligible for a comprehensive package covering up to 5 years of tuition, on-campus housing for up to 4 years, and a one-time allowance for international study or summer research valued at $2,000. This package enhances the overall value for National Merit Scholars choosing UAB.

University of Idaho

University of Idaho

– Best For: Agricultural Sciences

– Location: Moscow, Idaho

– School Type: Public Land-grant Research University

– Campus Type: Rural

– Campus Size: 810 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $8,396 (in-state) and $27,632 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 81%

– Retention Rate: 77%

– Graduation Rate: 38%

– Student Body: 11,303

– Students Per Class: Fewer than 20 in 62% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $33,900 per year

Overview:

The University of Idaho, as the primary research university in the state, boasts Carnegie R1 distinction, indicating its high research activity. With its Integrated Research and Innovation Center, the university fosters collaboration and innovation, providing a conducive environment for students, professors, and experts.

Academic Programs:

Offering over 300 academic programs, popular majors among undergraduate students at U of I encompass psychology, mechanical engineering, marketing, liberal arts and humanities, finance, sociology, business, animal sciences and husbandry, electrical engineering, and elementary education. Notably, the university excels in agricultural sciences, ranking #23 by Niche in Best Colleges for Agricultural Sciences in America.

National Merit Scholarships:

National Merit Scholars at the University of Idaho may receive awards covering tuition and potentially room and board, making it an attractive option for those seeking excellence in agricultural sciences and a broad range of academic disciplines.

University of Mississippi

the University of Mississippi

– Best For: Accounting and Finance

– Location: Oxford, Mississippi

– School Type: Public Research University

– Campus Type: Rural

– Campus Size: 3,693 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $9,220 (in-state) and $26,440 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 90%

– Retention Rate: 81%

– Graduation Rate: 52%

– Student Body: 21,203

– Students Per Class: Fewer than 20 in 53% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $41,200 per year

Overview:

As the oldest public university in Mississippi, the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, stands out as the largest postsecondary institution in the state by enrollment, with 76% of its student body being undergraduates. Offering more than 120 majors, Ole Miss caters to diverse academic interests and is particularly renowned for its accounting and finance programs.

Academic Programs:

Undergraduate students at Ole Miss can explore a variety of majors, including digital communication and multimedia, liberal arts and humanities, accounting, business, nursing, finance, marketing, psychology, elementary education, and kinesiology and science exercise.

Accolades:

Ole Miss is recognized for its strong accounting and finance programs, earning the rankings of #29 in Best Colleges for Accounting and Finance in America and #9 in Best Colleges for Accounting and Finance in Mississippi by Niche. Graduates from these programs enjoy an average starting salary of $44,800 per year.

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Campus Culture:

Known for its vibrant Greek life and reputation as a party school, Ole Miss offers a lively campus environment for students seeking academic excellence and a rich social scene.

National Merit Scholarships:

National Merit Scholars choosing Ole Miss may benefit from awards covering the full cost of tuition and the standard cost of a double-occupancy room for on-campus residents, providing a comprehensive financial support package.

University of Texas at Dallas

University of Texas at Dallas

– Best For: STEM

– Location: Richardson, Texas

– School Type: Public Research University

– Campus Type: Suburban

– Campus Size: 500 acres

– Tuition and Fees: $14,564 (in-state) and $39,776 (out-of-state)

– Acceptance Rate: 87%

– Retention Rate: 90%

– Graduation Rate: 54%

– Student Body: 29,696

– Students Per Class: Fewer than 20 in 22% of classes

– Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 24:1

– Alumni Average Starting Salary: $45,300 per year

Overview:

Established in 1961 with the initial purpose of serving as the private research division of Texas Instruments, the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) has evolved into a distinguished institution, particularly known for its excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs.

Academic Programs:

UT Dallas boasts highly-ranked engineering and computer science programs, making it a hub for students aspiring to excel in STEM fields. Additionally, the university offers a range of business programs, including analytics, management information systems, logistics, marketing, operation management, production, and supply chain management. With over 40 majors available, information science is one of the most popular choices among undergraduates.

STEM Excellence:

UT Dallas is recognized for its commitment to STEM education, providing students an environment conducive to innovation and research.

National Merit Scholarships:

Students attending UT Dallas can benefit from comprehensive award packages covering tuition and fees for up to 8 semesters. Additionally, they receive $4,000 per semester to support expenses related to books, supplies, and other academic needs. This robust scholarship program reflects the university’s commitment to fostering academic excellence in STEM disciplines.

It’s great that you’ve compiled a list of universities that accept National Merit Scholars. For students aiming for prestigious scholarships, these institutions can provide valuable opportunities. It’s important to note that scholarship details and availability may change, so interested students should check each university’s official website for the most up-to-date information on National Merit Scholarships.

Here’s the list of additional universities you mentioned:

1. Abilene Christian University

2. Bryan College

3. Florida Atlantic University

4. Harding University

5. La Sierra University

6. Liberty University

7. Louisiana Tech University

8. Murray State University

9. Northern Arizona University

10. Oakwood University

11. Oklahoma State University

12. Oklahoma Wesleyan University

13. Pacific Union College

14. Regent University

15. Roberts Wesleyan College

16. University of Alabama at Huntsville

17. University of Arizona

18. University of Central Florida

19. University of Houston

20. University of Maine

21. University of New Mexico

22. University of Texas at Arlington

23. Washington Adventist University

24. Washington State University

25. West Virginia University

26. Wichita State University

Conclusion on Colleges Awarding National Merit Scholarships

Pursuing higher education is a transformative journey, and for National Merit Scholars, it comes with additional opportunities for prestigious scholarships. This list showcases various universities that provide academic excellence and recognize and reward outstanding students’ achievements.

These institutions offer automatic merit scholarships based on criteria such as GPA, standardized test scores, and other achievements. From large public universities to smaller private colleges, each school has unique strengths, be it in academics, research, campus life, or specific fields of study.

For prospective National Merit Scholars, the key lies in exploring these opportunities and finding a university that aligns with their academic goals, personal preferences, and career aspirations. Students must stay informed about the latest scholarship details and requirements as these may evolve.

As students embark on their college journey, they aim to receive a quality education and thrive in an environment that fosters personal and intellectual growth. The compiled list is valuable for those seeking financial support and an enriching college experience.

Ultimately, the path to higher education is diverse and abundant, with numerous institutions recognizing and supporting National Merit Scholars’ exceptional talents and achievements.

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