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Benacquisto Scholarship

The Benacquisto Scholarship Program is a (near full-ride) merit scholarship for Florida high school graduates who receive recognition as a National Merit® Scholar or Finalist. Eligible finalists/scholars will receive an award equal to the institutional cost of attendance* minus the sum of Bright Futures and the National Merit® award. The award is sponsored by the state of Florida.

To be eligible to receive the Benacquisto Scholarship, students must graduate from a Florida high school (or equivalent) and be named a National Merit® Scholar or Finalist. In order to claim the award, students must list one of the 6 Florida schools listed below as their first choice school when responding to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Only 6 universities in the state of Florida participate in the Benacquisto Scholarship:

  • Florida State University

  • New College of Florida

  • University of Central Florida

  • University of Florida

  • University of South Florida

  • University of Miami *

National Merit® Scholar or Finalist To become a National Merit® Scholar or Finalist, you must qualify based on your score on the PSAT/NMSQT® that students will sit for during their junior year of high school. In South Florida, many high schools give all sophomores the test. If you want to become eligible for the National Merit® Scholarship, you must also sit for the test in 11th grade. In the Florida public high schools that means you must request to take the test and pay a small fee.

Not staying in state?

Although the state of Florida is the only state offering the Benacquisto scholarship, there are several other colleges and universities across the country who offer scholarship supplements to National Merit® Scholars and/or Finalists. The University of Southern California offers half tuition, Boston University offers $20,000, Vanderbilt offers $5,000 and Tulane, Emory and Northwestern offer $2,000, to name a few. The Ivy League does not offer merit money to National Merit® Scholars, nor does Duke, Stanford or a wide variety of other highly competitive universities.

For a complete list please contact Ascent College Advising today:

Lisa Solovay at 954 661-2052 or Julia Morgan at 954 651-3335.

*Institutional cost of attendance is based on the average cost of attendance at the Florida public universities. For the University of Miami, the award will not be based on the total cost to attend UM, which is a private university.

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