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National Merit Scholarships are awarded to entering high school graduates by Undergraduate Admissions to recognize outstanding academic performance.

National Merit recipients who are Florida Residents and are receiving a UCF or Corporate Sponsored National Merit Scholarship will receive their award through the Benacquisto Scholarship Program (formerly known as the Florida Incentive Scholarship Program or FIS) if it is available the year they begin UCF as a first-time in college student.

Students need to be aware that those individuals receiving their award as offered from the UCF Undergraduate Admissions Office cannot exceed their Cost of Attendance with all resources available each year. In the event that a student receives additional awards, their National Merit Award will be reduced.

Program Requirements

This scholarship is awarded to exceptional high school students who are accepted for a summer or fall semester by Undergraduate Admissions. If you are a recipient of any of the scholarships in this program, you are responsible for making note of the following.

Required Hours

Students must enroll full-time (a minimum of 12 UCF credit hours) each fall and spring term. Dual or transient hours taken at another institution will not be considered in the hours calculated for full-time enrollment for the purpose of this scholarship. The only exception to the full-time enrollment requirement is granted to students during their graduating semester.

For the exception to be extended, students must provide a memo on letterhead from their academic advisor indicating:

  • Student’s name and UCFID
  • Semester graduation is expected
  • Name of course(s) needed for graduation
  • Name of the undergraduate degree to be received

If a student enrolls in less than six UCF hours during their graduating semester, the exception must be approved by the UCF Scholarship Committee. Students should submit their request at least two months prior to the beginning of their graduating semester to have a decision rendered before the beginning of the semester.

Scholarship Deferment

Receiving student may request a deferment for the purpose of taking part in activities that would interrupt their required continuous enrollment at the University of Central Florida.

A scholarship deferment request can hold the scholarship for a maximum of two semesters.

Acceptable reasons to defer a scholarship include, but are not limited to: military service, documented medical conditions, internships/Co-Ops, religious missions, etc. At the time of deferment, the student must be meeting the renewal criteria for the scholarship. A deferment will not be granted for attendance at any other higher education institution.

Students seeking a deferment must complete a State Programs and Scholarships Appeal Form and submit a letter indicating the reason for the request, along with supporting documentation. The appeal must be submitted no later than two months prior to the start of the semester in which the deferment is being requested.

Failure to obtain approval prior to departure from the university will result in cancellation of scholarship.


Students must enroll full-time (a minimum of 12 UCF credit hours) each fall and spring semester. If extenuating circumstances exist that prevent full-time enrollment, students may appeal to the UCF Scholarship Committee. Appeals must be submitted prior to the semester in which the exception is being requested.

Failure to obtain approval to enroll less than full-time will result in cancellation of scholarship.

Renewal Requirements

Academic progress is evaluated once per year after spring grades have been posted. In order to meet renewal requirements for the scholarship, students must meet the following each year:

  • Students must enroll in at least 12 credit hours in the fall and spring terms to receive this award.
  • Students must complete 24 credit hours between the previous fall and spring terms. For Example: If a student was enrolled in 12 credit hours for the fall semester and earned 9 hours, the student would need to enroll in and successfully complete 15 hours in the spring semester to have earned 24 credit hours by the end of the evaluation period.
  • Earned the required minimum UCF cumulative GPA by the end of each spring term. Summer grades earned after spring evaluation may not be used to meet the scholarship renewal requirements.
  • Repeat Checking refers to how the University treats classes that you have taken more than once. If you repeat a class, there are implications for your GPA and academic level (freshman, sophomore, etc). However, and normally, repeated classes do not result in additional credit counting towards the degree. For more information, see myKnight Audit FAQs.

For additional renewal information, please see the chart below:

National Merit Scholarship renewal requirements breakdown
Minimum UCF Hours Required Per Term: 12
Minimum GPA required at the end of each Spring (First semester of enrollment prior to Fall 2018): 3.2
Minimum GPA required at the end of each Spring (First semester of enrollment Fall 2018: 3.0
Dual/Transient Hours Acceptable? No
Remedial Hours Acceptable? No
Satisfactory Academic Progress Required? No
Other Renewal Requirements? Yes
FAFSA Required? No
Maximum Time Limit 8 Semesters


The FAFSA is not required for the National Merit program, however, completing the FAFSA is advised for consideration of other financial resources.


For more information about this special award program and merit scholarships, email the Scholars Program at

National Merit Scholarship FAQs

As a National Merit Scholarship recipient, you are required to complete at least 24 UCF credit hours and earn a UCF G.P.A. of at least a 3.2 at the end of the spring semester. Please note: National Achievement and National Recognition Program recipients are required to meet the same requirements as National Merit recipients.

These scholarships are awarded to entering high school graduates by Undergraduate Admissions to recognize outstanding academic performance.

A maximum of 8 terms or until graduation, whichever is less.

Students whose major requires 124 or more hours may receive a one-term extension. (Double majors and minors are not considered). A letter (on letterhead) from the department verifying the number of hours required for the degree must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Assistance prior to the 9th term.

No. The National Merit Scholarship is only available during the fall and spring terms.

Possibly. You must submit a Scholarship Appeal and letter stating the reason(s) that you need the time away from UCF. The appeal must be submitted prior to the term(s) that you plan to be away from UCF. The UCF Scholarship Committee will review your request and render a decision. If you leave UCF without asking for the time off, you will not be reinstated to the scholarship program upon your return. Extenuating circumstances are the exception.

Any combination of UCF-sponsored non-resident waiver awards will cover up to the waiver award amount or the non-resident fee amount, whichever is less.

As an out of state student your scholarship is comprised of two portions, a scholarship portion and a waiver portion. The scholarship portion of your award will serve for deferment purposes, and your waiver will be applied directly towards your tuition, but will not serve as a deferment. Only students who are enrolled full-time will receive the waiver.* The waiver will be applied the week after the add/drop period has ended.

*The only exception to the full-time enrollment requirement is granted to students during their graduating semester. Please refer to the Required Hours section on the Program Requirements page for additional information.

Yes. If you want to Co-Op or intern, you must let us know in writing which term you plan to Co-Op or intern prior to that term. We will defer your scholarship until you return as a full-time student the following term.

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