EVANSTON, ILL. - Smay R. Shah, a senior at Hillsborough High School in New Jersey who will be attending Rutgers University as a freshman in September, is one of 3,500 winners of National Merit Scholarships nationally financed by U.S. colleges and universities..

Each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

An additional group of scholars will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2019 competition to about 4,100. This year, 173 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 95 private and 78 public institutions located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

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Shah will major in Business Management at Rutgers, the state University of New Jersey, which traces its beginnings to 1766. Today, it enrolls undergraduates at 13 colleges in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.  Most of the colleges are residential.  They offer study in a large variety of arts and science fields and many professional areas, such as Engineering, Pharmacy, Nursing, Environmental Sciences, Agriculture, and Performing Arts.  Graduate degrees are offered in numerous fields.

Today’s announcement is the third National Merit Scholar release in 2019 by National Merit Scholarship Corporation. NMSC named recipients of corporate-sponsored awards on April 17 and winners of National Merit ® $2500 Scholarships on May 8. Additional recipients of college-sponsored awards will be announced on July 15. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,600 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.

 Over 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

Last fall, approximately 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists first had to advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions.

Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confi rmed the qualifying test performance. From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2019.

NMSC, an Illinois-based not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of National Merit Scholarships provided each year are made possible by the support of approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors. These sponsors join NMSC in its efforts to enhance educational opportunities for America’s scholastically talented youth and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.