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World-class world changers

Iowa State is proud of its ability to attract talented students from across the nation. Our community of scholars includes those students in the National Merit and National Recognition programs.

The university participates in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's academic competition, the National Merit Scholarship Program, for recognition and undergraduate scholarships. To enter the scholarship contest, students must complete the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).

Students recognized in the College Board's National Recognition Program are good candidates for scholarships at Iowa State. Students should complete the PSAT/NMSQT to qualify for academic recognition. 

For more information, call 515-294-5836 or email

Iowa resident National Merit Scholars

Iowa residents who are named National Merit Scholars by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will qualify for a full tuition scholarship available for four years (eight semesters) of undergraduate coursework at Iowa State University. To renew this award, the student must remain continuously enrolled at Iowa State University on a full-time basis as an Iowa resident in good academic standing and maintain a minimum of 3.00 cumulative grade point average. This award is available during fall and spring semesters only, not during the summer session. Students who receive the full tuition scholarship are not eligible for other merit awards from the Office of Admissions including the Loyal Forever True Awards for Iowa residents.

Nonresident National Merit Scholars

The National Merit Scholarship program at Iowa State University benefits high-achieving academic students from across the United States. Nonresidents can be selected to receive the Iowa State college-sponsored scholarship through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) worth $500/year. Students recognized in the National Merit Scholarship competition can be eligible for a scholarship from one of our undergraduate colleges. Iowa State offers automatic merit-based awards and scholarships awarded through the OneApp scholarship portal.

Eligibility requirements

To become eligible, students must complete all of the following:

  • Complete the Preliminary SAT®/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
  • Be named a National Merit Semifinalist
  • Apply and be offered admission to Iowa State University
  • Notify the National Merit Scholarship Corporation that Iowa State University is your "first choice college"
  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Be named a National Merit Finalist and Scholar
  • Specific scholarship guidelines concerning the National Merit Scholarship Program are provided on the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's homepage

Iowa State University acknowledges the College Board's National Recognition Program. Students can be considered for automatic first-year merit awards. They may qualify to apply for our prestigious full-tuition George Washington Carver Scholarship.

Eligibility requirements

To be considered for these awards, students must:

The university provides a variety of merit-based scholarships and special academic opportunities for academically gifted students. These include participation in 100 programs of study, the comprehensive University Honors Programundergraduate research, and other academic scholarships.