National Merit PSAT Cutoff Scores: Class of 2025

Did you recently score well on the PSAT? You may be eligible to earn scholarships and recognition through the National Merit Scholarship Program! Read on to learn what it means to be a National Merit Scholar, the PSAT cutoff scores for the Class of 2024 in each state, and the types of awards you can win by entering the competition.

What Is National Merit?

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an annual academic scholarship competition that offers recognition and college scholarships to qualifying students. The program began in 1955 and continues to reward students for their academic and extracurricular achievements each year.

Students must be enrolled at a high school (traditional or homeschooled) in the United States and plan to attend college to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program. U.S. citizens attending high school outside the country may also be eligible. To enter, a student will take the PSAT/NMSQT no later than their junior year in high school. If you are unsure how to verify that you meet all these requirements, talk to your guidance counselor for more information about your high school’s program.

After you complete the PSAT/NMSQT exam, you will receive a Selection Index score that determines whether you qualify for recognition and scholarships. The Selection Index score is calculated by doubling your Reading and Writing score, adding the result to your Math score, then dividing the sum by 10: (2RW + M) / 10 = Selection Index Score. 

This score will be used to screen entrants and divide them into two categories: Commended Students and Semifinalists. About 2 out of 3 entrants will be named Commended Students and will receive a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Though Commended Students will not advance to the next round of the competition, they may still be eligible for certain corporate sponsorships.

To be named a Semifinalist, students must earn a top score on the PSAT/NMSQT. Top scorers are generally defined as those who score in the top 1% among juniors taking the PSAT in their state. Semifinalists will be given the opportunity to advance in the competition and earn scholarships by applying to become a Finalist.

Semifinalists must meet the following requirements in order to progress to the level of Finalist:

  • Be a senior planning to enroll in a full-time university in the fall or a college freshman who completed high school in three years or less.
  • Be endorsed and recommended for a National Merit Scholarship by their high school principal.
  • Have a strong record of high academic achievement throughout all high school and collegiate coursework.
  • Complete the National Merit Scholarship application in full (including the essay).
  • Earn scores on the SAT or ACT that confirm their PSAT/NMSQT performance.

A committee of college admissions professionals and high school counselors will select scholarship winners from the pool of Finalists. There are 2,500 National Merit Scholarships available (each worth $2,500), and each state will have a designated number of winners based on how many of the nation’s seniors will graduate there.

2024 National Merit Semifinalist Cutoff Scores

Below, you will find a complete list of National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores for the Class of 2024 by state. You can also check if the score in that state has gone up or down compared to the Class of 2023 results.

StateClass of 2025 Cutoff (most likely)Difference from Class of 2024
Alabama212+2
Alaska212+3
Arizona217+1
Arkansas212+2
California221No change
Colorado217+1
Connecticut221No change
Delaware220+1
District of Columbia223No change
Florida216No change
Georgia219+2
Hawaii217No change
Idaho214+3
Illinois219No change
Indiana216No change
Iowa213+3
Kansas215-1
Kentucky214+3
Louisiana214No change
Maine214+1
Maryland222+1
Massachusetts222No change
Michigan217No change
Minnesota218+2
Mississippi211+2
Missouri215+1
Montana210+1
Nebraska213+3
Nevada214+3
New Hampshire215No change
New Jersey223No change
New Mexico211+4
New York220No change
North Carolina218+1
North Dakota209+2
Ohio216No change
Oklahoma211+3
Oregon217+1
Pennsylvania219No change
Rhode Island216+1
South Carolina213+4
South Dakota211+2
Tennessee216´1
Texas220+1
Utah212+3
Vermont213+1
Virginia221+2
Washington220No change
West Virginia209+2
Wisconsin214+1
Wyoming209+2
U.S. Territories209+2

Types of National Merit Scholarships

National Merit Finalists will be eligible to receive three different types of scholarships:

  • National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Scholarship.
  • College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship.

As we mentioned, the National Merit $2,500 Scholarships will be given to 2,500 Finalists who meet all the necessary requirements. However, Finalists who do not receive one of these scholarships may earn a corporate-sponsored or a college-sponsored scholarship instead.

The number and monetary value of corporate-sponsored and college-sponsored scholarships may vary from organization to organization. Generally, corporate-sponsored scholarships will either be a one-time award between $2,500 and $5,000 or a yearly renewable award ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. College-sponsored scholarships will typically be renewable for four years and can range from $500 to $2,000 per year. 

There are two types of corporate-sponsored scholarships: merit and special scholarships. Both have specific criteria laid out by the sponsors, but they will usually be awarded to the children of employees, residents of specific communities, or those who plan to pursue a certain major or career path. Students can fill out entry forms to be considered for these scholarships.

College-sponsored scholarships will be offered to Finalists who plan to attend one of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s sponsor colleges and have indicated that school as their first choice. The current list of sponsor colleges includes:

  • Abilene Christian University
  • American University
  • Arizona State University
  • Auburn University
  • Belmont University
  • Boston University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Bradley University
  • Brandeis University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Bucknell University
  • Calvin University
  • Carleton College
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Centre College
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Clemson University
  • Colby College (Maine)
  • College of Charleston
  • College of Wooster
  • Colorado College
  • Colorado State University
  • Creighton University
  • Davidson College
  • DePauw University
  • Drake University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Emory University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • Fordham University
  • Furman University
  • Gordon College (Massachusetts)
  • Goshen College
  • Grinnell College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Harding University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Hendrix College
  • Hillsdale College
  • Hope College
  • Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Iowa State University
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Kansas State University
  • Kenyon College
  • Lawrence University (Wisconsin)
  • Lehigh University
  • Lewis & Clark College (Oregon)
  • Liberty University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Luther College
  • Macalester College
  • Marquette University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Montana State University – Bozeman
  • New College of Florida
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northeastern University (Massachusetts)
  • Oberlin College
  • Occidental College
  • Ohio University – Athens
  • Oklahoma Christian University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • Ouachita Baptist University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Pomona College
  • Purdue University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rhodes College
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Saint Louis University
  • St. Olaf College
  • Samford University
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Stony Brook University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas Tech University
  • Trinity University (Texas)
  • Truman State University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Dallas
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Evansville
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia Foundation
  • University of Houston – Main Campus
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Maine
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Miami
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Missouri – Columbia
  • University of Montana – Missoula
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
  • University of South Carolina – Columbia
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Southern Mississippi
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Tulsa
  • University of Utah
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • University of Wyoming
  • Valparaiso University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Washington State University
  • Wayne State University (Michigan)
  • West Virginia University Foundation, Inc.
  • Wheaton College (Illinois)
  • Whitman College
  • Wichita State University
  • Willamette University
  • Wofford College

If you don’t see your first choice school on the list, don’t worry! Remember that you can still earn a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship or one of the many Corporate-Sponsored Scholarships instead.

Test Your Best With Prep Expert

Becoming a National Merit Scholar is not easy. Students hoping to win scholarships and be recognized for their achievements will need to spend a lot of time studying and learning test-taking strategies. That’s why many students have turned to Prep Expert!

At Prep Expert, we offer guidance and structure to help you get ready to perform your best on test day. Our courses are designed and taught by expert instructors, many of them perfect scorers, who can tell you what you need to study and make your test prep more fun, engaging, and interactive.

Check out our full course catalog today to start improving your scores!

149633