NMSU reinstates National Merit, Hispanic Scholar program

September 3, 2014 by Jocelyn N. Apodaca, NMSU News Center

New Mexico State University has reinstated the National Merit Scholarship and Hispanic Scholars Award program after it was discontinued four years ago as part of budgetary cuts associated with the Great Recession.

“Reestablishing the program sends the clear message that NMSU is for all students, including the most accomplished,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard. “Too many of the best students in New Mexico are leaving the state, not to attend elite, private colleges or universities, but to attend state universities with stronger merit scholarship programs. We want to let these students know that NMSU’s academic programs are second to none and we want them to build their futures in New Mexico.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships, has been active since 1955. Participants still enrolled in high school qualify by taking the Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. According to website statistics, 1.5 million entrants qualify for the program. These students qualify as semi-finalists.

National Merit semi-finalists and National Hispanic Scholars at NMSU receive an award package including waived tuition and fees, on-campus housing and a $1,250 stipend each semester.

Program finalists receive an award package of waived tuition and fees, on-campus housing and a $2,500 stipend per semester.

“New Mexico had more than 80 students designated as National Merit semi-finalists for the graduating class of 2014,” said Valerie Pickett, NMSU admissions specialist. “When we received funding for these scholarships in 2006, we had 11 students enroll in fall 2007. We had our highest enrollment in fall 2009 with 43 students.”

With more than 700 students, the University of Oklahoma has the highest number of national scholars of any public institution in the country.

Students who become National Merit Scholars are among the top one percent of high school seniors in the nation.

“Competition for these students is stiff, as these students receive significant scholarship offers from institutions all over the country,” Pickett said.

For more information, visit the NMSU Financial Aid and Scholarship Services website http://fa.nmsu.edu

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