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The National Merit Scholarship Program is a national academic competition for high school students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Students qualify for the program by achieving a high score on the PSAT—more formally called the PSAT/NMSQT (“National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test”)—in their junior year, and then they may be designated as Commended Students, Semifinalists, or (after an additional application) Finalists for a $2,500 scholarship.
The first step for nearly all students applying for financial aid is completing the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the federal government’s application for federal financial aid, and it is also used by state governments and many colleges and universities as they determine how much money to give you to help pay for college.
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