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.
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.
Students must enroll full-time (a minimum of 12 or 15 UCF credit hours based on the beginning of the student’s academic career at UCF) 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.
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 Scholarship 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 or 15 UCF credit hours based on the beginning of the student’s academic career at UCF) 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.
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 admitted before Summer 2021 must enroll in at least 12 credit hours in the fall and spring terms to receive this award. Students admitted Summer 2021 and after must enroll in at least 15 credit hours in the fall and spring terms to receive this award.
- Students admitted before Summer 2021 must complete 24 credit hours between the previous fall and spring terms. Students admitted Summer 2021 and after must complete 30 credit hours between the previous fall and spring terms.
For Example: If a student was enrolled in 12 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 an average of 24 hours by the end of the evaluation period.
- Earned the required minimum UCF cumulative GPA by the end of each spring term. Summer grades and hours 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:
|Minimum UCF Hours Required Per Term for Students who began before Summer 2021:||12|
|Minimum UCF Hours Required Per Term for Student who began on or after Summer 2021:||15|
|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|
|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.
National Merit Scholarship FAQs
How are National Merit Scholarship awarded?
These scholarships are awarded to entering high school graduates by Undergraduate Admissions to recognize outstanding academic performance.
How long will I receive the National Merit Scholarship?
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.
Can I use my National Merit Scholarship in the summer?
No. The National Merit Scholarship is only available during the fall and spring terms.
If I need to take time off from my studies at UCF, will I retain the National Merit Scholarship?
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.
I have the National Merit Scholarship, what are the requirements?
As a National Merit Scholarship recipient, you are required to complete at least 24 UCFcredit 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 Hispanic Scholarship recipients are required to meet the same requirements as National Merit recipients.
What happens if I have several University sponsored sources providing funds to cover the cost of the out of state portion of my tuition?
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.
I am an out of state student, how does my scholarship work?
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.
Can I Co-op or intern and remain on this scholarship?
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.