National Merit Scholarship Cutoff
With today’s economy, obtaining a scholarship to help curb tuition costs is extremely important to aspiring college students. Receiving an academic gift can be a very challenging process; therefore, the candidate expects it to be fair and unbiased. Recently, controversy has surrounded the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), one of the most prestigious scholarship competition programs, for unfair practices in the selection of finalists and semi-finalists through the National Merit Scholarship cutoff scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as a determination of who will receive the awards.
Does The National Merit Scholarship Cater To The Rich?
The National Merit Scholarship Program, which originated in 1955, is an academic scholarship contest managed by the NMSC, a privately-funded, non-profit organization located in Illinois. It holds its competition twice a year, rewarding the highest achieving students across the country who excel in the PSAT/NMSQT testing phase.
To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be enrolled as a full-time high school student and have plans to attend an accredited university the fall after high school graduation. The applicant must also be a U.S. citizen and permanently reside in the U.S. and take the PSAT/NMSQT test as a high school junior, with scores ranging between 200-240. The top scorers are chosen during the selection process and will continue the process, while others who do not make the cut, will be recognized through the delivery of a commendation letter.
Some education officials are voicing their opinion in reference to, what they believe to be biased practices when it comes to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation selection standards. Recent statistics show that every school year, the PSAT/NMSQT National Merit Scholarship cutoff scores tend to increase and vary from state-to-state, diminishing the chances for most students to qualify. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing revealed that National Merit Scholarship cutoff scores were kept secret and not available to students and parents until the fall, right before testing was to take place. But, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation defended its reputation by saying that their qualifications are based on several different studies that focus on geographic location and are in no way biased.
The National Merit Scholarship cutoff Scores
It is suggested that low-income African American and Latino students are directly affected by the National Merit Scholarship cutoff using PSAT to decide eligibility because parents cannot afford for them to participate in expensive test-prep courses, which obviously results in lower test scores. Recent records show that the National Merit Scholarship is mostly awarded to privileged students who attend private schools, with the majority of the recipients being Caucasian and Asian American males.
The National Association for College Admissions Counseling recommends altering the qualifying process by re-evaluating the National Merit Scholarship cutoff scores, but so far the program has shown no interest in changing its policy. Therefore, certain higher learning institutions have made the choice to no longer support the program. New York University (NYU), University of California system, and University of Texas are among a few that have chosen not to move forward with scholarships generally meant for national merit scholars.
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