Saint Thomas Academy senior William Hoppe of Saint Paul (Mac-Groveland) is one of 16,000 seniors nationwide to be named a semifinalist in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.
As a semifinalist, Hoppe can compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and better than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
Finalist will compete for 2,500 National Merit scholarships worth $2,500, which will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored merit scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet the sponsors’ specified criteria. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored merit scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institutions.
More than 1.5 million students in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total graduating seniors.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.