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National Hispanic Recognition Program – Details and Qualifying Scores

By September 17, 2018For Students, National Merit, PSAT

September 18 Update — NHRP certificates  for the class of 2019 were mailed to students last week. Recognized students should be receiving word shortly.

The National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes approximately 5,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors each year from among the more than 400,000 juniors who take the PSAT. As with the National Merit Scholarship Program, NHRP uses the junior year PSAT/NMSQT as the qualifying test. The programs, however, differ significantly.

  • NHRP is administered directly by College Board and Scholarship America. National Merit is run by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
  • NHRP sets qualifying levels regionally (see below for details). National Merit sets qualifying levels by state.
  • NHRP recognition requires a minimum 3.5 GPA. National Merit does not consider student GPA until the Finalist portion of the competition.
  • NHRP does not directly include any financial awards or scholarships. National Merit does offer scholarships. In the case of both programs, colleges may have their own awards based on student status. NHRP, for example, is an entrance path for Boston University’s Presidential Scholarship.
  • Students with qualifying PSAT scores are notified of NHRP eligibility in February of junior year. Certificate recipients are notified in September of senior year. National Merit Semifinalist and Commended Students do not learn of their status until September of senior year.
  • NHRP is open only to students who are least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino.
  • NHRP recognition does not impact National Merit status. Students can be recognized by both programs.

Initial consideration is automatic for juniors taking the PSAT/NMSQT who have identified as Hispanic/Latino on the PSAT answer sheet. Students meeting the qualifying score requirements will be invited to complete an application and confirm their GPAs with documentation from their high schools. Students who are not already identified as Hispanic/Latino may self-nominate. Contact Scholarship America at NHRP@scholarshipamerica.org for details.

College Board does not publish a public list of cutoffs. Compass has gathered known cutoffs, by region, for the new PSAT. The actual class of 2017 cutoffs were based on National Merit’s Selection Index, where ERW scores have twice the weight of Math scores. The Total Scores for the class of 2017 have been estimated to provide comparison.

[April 10 update: We have learned that the New England cutoff was 1310 for the class of 2019.]

NHRP cutoffs have been relatively stable on the new PSAT, and we expect the same moving forward. The number of Hispanic/Latino students taking the PSAT/NMSQT has grown tremendously over the last 10 years, but score movement at the top end of the range has been slow.

Recognized students are from the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and the Marshall Islands or are citizens studying abroad. We believe that the regions correspond to those the College Board uses for its regional offices.

Art Sawyer

About Art Sawyer

Art graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he was the top-ranked liberal arts student in his class. Art pioneered the one-on-one approach to test prep in California in 1989 and co-founded Compass Education Group in 2004 in order to bring the best ideas and tutors into students' homes and computers. Although he has attained perfect scores on all flavors of the SAT and ACT, he is routinely beaten in backgammon.

74 Comments

  • Carolyn says:

    Art, we live in Idaho. My son recently received an invitation to apply. We already sent in the completed eligibility verification form with a weighted (current) GPA of 4.02. What is the rest of the process? Not to be presumptuous, but it seems to read that if he meets all the eligibility requirements and they are submitted he is pretty much guaranteed this recognition certificate? Or is there more to the process? Also, how does my son position himself to capitalize scholarship opportunities if he receives this certificate? Would he have to search on his own or would companies/colleges directly contact him to apply for specific scholarship opportunities? If this is the case, what type of things can he do in the meantime to prepare and apply for them (types of personal statements/essay topics?) Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Carolyn,
      There are no “gotchas” of which I’m aware — beyond the requirements you’ve seen. It sounds like your son will be recognized. College Board likes to make money from its data, so I would not be surprised if he is contacted by colleges. It’s important not to count on it, though. There is not a single clearinghouse for all NMRP scholarships. College Confidential usually has several threads going on the topic. Most of the opportunities are specific to the college.

      • Carolyn says:

        Hi again, thanks for all the information. I have a follow up questions based on additional posts to this blog…Many college scholarship programs or scholarship applications ask for lists of awards and achievements…I see you mentioned in a response below that a student might list this right now as “NHRP Qualifier” which is a great suggestion. Once received, what wording would you suggest? I ask because nobody at my son’s schools (he attends 2 different schools – a regular high school and an accelerated high school/college math/science program) here in Idaho, from guidance counselors, to teacher, to principals have no idea what NHRP is and what it actually stands for. Makes me wonder even when listed on student resume or scholarship application if the reviewer would really know what this means if simply put as – say – “2019 National Hispanic Recognition Program Recipient” ????

        • Art Sawyer says:

          Carolyn,
          The only language College Board uses is “recognize”/”recognition.” That does create some odd redundancy with “NHRP recognition.” I like your recipient option. I certainly think colleges will understand.

  • Cristina says:

    Art
    How does it look so far for a student in Texas with a 214 score? Is it likely he ll get commended? He just received the Hispanic Merit Recognition for his scores.

    If he gets commended only, do prestigious schools give any value to that at all?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Congratulations, Christina! Yes, he will be Commended. At the most competitive schools, National Merit plays little role for several reasons: (1) the colleges attract top talent without offering NM scholarships (or, like the Ivy League, prefer to base financial aid on demonstrated need), (2) the schools don’t want to overlook students on the ACT track, and (3) most applicants are already in the top 1-3% of scorers.

  • Costanzo says:

    Hi Art
    My son scored 1380 on the PSAT and has been offered an application to the NHRP recently.
    I it looks like he is in the top 96percentile …..I am not sure if he will be commended or not we are in CA.
    Do you know if the top 4percentiles will be commended? also does the NHRP really help kids to get into very competitive schools like Stanford and or Harvard? or not really?
    thanks

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Constanzo,
      Congratulations to your son! It’s likely that he will receive NHRP honors as long as his grades are solid. He will probably fall just a bit short of National Merit Commended status

      At schools such as Stanford and Harvard, NHRP and NM play little role because almost all applicants have excellent test scores. Also, they are concerned about SAT and ACT scores rather than PSAT performance.

  • IVAN says:

    Hello Art;

    I leave in Miami and I got 1350 on my PSAT, I was counting with the NHRP, my counselor thought that I was going to qualify due to my Index score of 199. Where could I get the most accurate information to see if I qualified or not.

  • Kim says:

    Art – If my daughter has a 990 PSAT score junior year but a weighted GPA of 4.23, is there any chance for recognition into the program? We did not get an invitation but will be self nominating just in case. Any hope for us?

  • kfitz says:

    I’m from Arizona and have already been invited to participate in the program. My weighted GPA is a 4.6 while my core GPA is a 3.7. My counselor said that it does not matter which score I report to them but I was wondering if I should send my weighted instead of core GPA and if this would affect my eligibility?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      kfitz,
      Most colleges and scholarship programs prefer unweighted GPAs. Since the NHRP application allows you to specify weighted/unweighted, I would simply go with whichever one you prefer. I don’t have enough information to say whether or not it will make a difference.

  • Soledad says:

    Hi Art, My daughter received an index score of 215. We live in Illinois, how does it look for her? She already received the NHRP letter, do you think she will get any other recognition? She received a 1450 and has a 4.2 GPA.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Soledad,
      Your daughter’s score is high enough for her to be a National Merit Commended Student. She will receive notice in September. Her score is not high enough in IL for her to be a Semifinalist.

  • Robert says:

    Art:

    I note that you do not have a 2019 NHRP cutoff for New England in your chart. NHRP told us that the cutoff for Connecticut was 1310 (my daughter cleared that).

  • Julia says:

    Art,
    Is there a place where I can see how many NHS each state had this year?

  • Michael says:

    Daughter (junior in NY) received nomination earlier this year and just rcvd SAT (1550). Is there any guidance or resources you could recommend re:targeting schools that would tend to look favorably at this profile (I.e. Reward the recognition or award). Thanks in advance

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Michael,
      Congratulations to your daughter. My expertise is in testing rather than financial aid, so I don’t have much guidance for you. NHRP has never had as much formal recognition — in terms of merit awards — as National Merit. That’s not to say that your daughter wouldn’t be eligible for many merit scholarships, simply that NHRP status is not an automatic qualifier for most awards. The financial aid forums at collegeconfidential.com often have discussions among parents and students as to what scholarships are available.

  • Mel says:

    Hey Art,
    I got a 1380 on my PSAT, live in Florida and have received an invitation. Looking at the table of cutoffs you have it seems like I barely made it for the South region cutoff but I have surpassed all of the other cutoffs by a good enough amount of points. Do you think I will be compared to others in my region and be eliminated or will it be chosen on a nationwide scale (where my score is better than people who just made the cutoff in Southwest with a 1270 for example)?
    Thank you very much

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Mel,
      College Board does not provide enough information on selection criteria for me to give a confident answer. Generally regional cutoffs indicate that you will be compared regionally. I believe, though, that if you mean the qualifications for PSAT score, GPA, etc. that you will be recognized. It is not a competition, per se.

  • Caleb says:

    Hello:

    I am a Junior from Texas. Scored a 1420 or 1430 on my PSAT and got sent a letter telling me to apply for the NHRP. I just need to get the paperwork signed by my school official, and then I will submit it. I have two questions:

    1. My school calculates GPA on a weighted basis. How do you think I should calculate my unweighted GPA to include on the application? Should I rely on the school to calculate it intelligently, or should I challenge them if I believe they have underestimated it? Seeing as how I’ve never had a grade lower than 96 in any core class, I would think that my unweighted GPA should be around 3.9 or 4.0.

    2. Since I obviously meet both minimum criteria (GPA over 3.5 and PSAT well above the cutoff), what are the odds you think that I will end up receiving the recognition? Does the minimum simply decrease from 2.5% of Hispanics to a lower and lower number as the process goes on, or does it stay relatively stable?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Caleb,
      Sorry for not replying earlier.
      1) It should not make a difference, but I would go ahead and submit your weighted GPA (NHRP does allow it).
      2) The NHRP is not a scholarship competition in the way that National Merit is. If you meet all the criteria, I believe that you will receive recognition.

  • Isabel says:

    Hello Art,
    We moved from Argentina to California where my son started 10th grade. His freshmen grades were average in Argentina but his US school grades this year are 3.5. He expects junior year to be much better since he has at least two AP classes. Our questions:

    1. Will his freshmen grades from Argentina be taken into account to calculate his GPA or only the US school 10th grade average?
    2. What date is the cutoff to calculate GPA and will junior partial grades be taken into account?
    3. Should he take summer classes to bring up his GPA further?
    4. He took a practice PSAT in October as a sophomore as soon as he arrived from Argentina and got 1170. With a course could he improve his score enough to qualify?

    All the best

    Isabel

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Isabel,
      The NHRP application does not make clear whether or not the freshman year is included. The student is supposed to include junior grades through the “midpoint” of the year. The most important thing is that the school has to sign off on the accuracy of the information. If your son’s high school considers his GPA based only on his classes in California, then that is the one I would report. If the school expects freshman year to be included, then that is what you will need to do. The same applies to summer classes. As long as the classes are a part of his GPA, then there is no reason that they would be excluded.

      He will probably need a 1280-1300 in California. That is a reasonable increase for a student who puts in the effort — especially since he would have had little prior experience when he took the PSAT.

  • Eva says:

    Hi, Art,

    We live in the west. My son was invited to apply to the NHRP program. He scored 1470 on his PSAT and has a 4.0 unweighted GPA. Do you think it is necessary to wait until the fall to state that he has received the NHRP designation? He is a recruited athlete so he will be submitting a college application this summer (early decision). It seems that students cannot with certainty know about their National Merit designation until the fall. Is NHRP recognition more of a sure thing since the cut-offs are already known?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Eva,
      As long as he meets the qualifying criteria, he is essentially guaranteed to receive NHRP recognition. I think he could safely state it on his application. That said, a safer way of stating it might be NHRP qualifier. You’re correct that he’d have to wait on NM. Students can update applications with additional information.

  • Jane says:

    My son scored a 216 and was invited to apply for Hispanic recognition, but I am not positive if the amount of our Spaniard roots result in him being 1/4 Hispanic/Latino (would have to do a little digging). We live in CA and he should definitely receive Commended Scholar recognition. Do you think it would be worth it to apply for Hispanic Recognition or do you think since he will get Commended Scholar recognition, that would trump it anyways for colleges? Do the colleges look for NHRP students?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Jane,
      I don’t think one trumps the other. If he is eligible for NHRP — and his school will need to sign off on it — then I think he should apply.

  • Mariana says:

    What was the cutoff score for Texas class of 2019?

  • jack says:

    Hey, I wanted to start and thank you this page was very helpful, I recently finished my application after I was invited to apply and I was wondering about the selection process. I hear the term Finalist or commended a lot and i’m confused on how the process works. Do I still get benefits if i’m not a finalist ? And do the 5000 students that are invited to apply guaranteed some form of recognition?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Jack,
      When you are hearing about Commended and Finalist, it’s more likely that you are hearing about National Merit rather than NHRP. In the case of the latter, there is no scholarship money directly attached to the honor, although colleges may choose to provide awards to students. Technically you are not recognized unless you complete the application and are approved. The initial stage is an “invitation.”

  • TBrixton says:

    Hi Art,

    When contacting Northeastern about NHRP, they mentioned that they can calculate it two ways. First is they give you a merit award without NHRP, let’s say for $20,000. You would then contact them and let them know you qualified as NHRP and they would adjust it. Maybe not to the max $30,000, but perhaps $25,000 as your total award. They also said you can send in the NHRP award with the application and they will calculate together and give you an award. This may be odd logic, but the first scenario I describe introducing the NHRP status after the award feels like being at the car dealership. The dealer gives me his best offer, then I tell him I have a trade in and get a better number. That vs., getting just the number all at once. Do you think it makes a difference when you reveal the NHRP certificate? On the other side everyone says the earlier the better to get the most merit. If all NHRP certificates are awarded by the end of September why wouldn’t Northeastern and any other school require it when you apply (even if EA)? Just wanted to understand best strategy or if it makes a difference. Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      TBrixton,
      Welcome to the world of Enrollment Management. 😉 While I am not familiar with the specifics of Northeastern, the practice that you describe would not be unique. The financial aid — merit and need-based — that colleges can offer is a finite resource. The school has to decide the best way of allocating those resources, and dozens of factors may come into play — to extend your analogy, purchase price, trade-in value, dealer incentives, etc. I’d recommend earlier over later. There is no reason that you have to accept an offer, but you can’t accept something that is no longer available.

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Art,

    My son had a 1440 PSAT and has a 4.0 unweighted GPA in Georgia. He applied, what do you think about his recognition chances based on our state/region?

  • Thomas says:

    Hello, I am a student from New York taking the PSAT this year. I was wondering for reference which region New York falls under for NHRP. Thanks!

  • J. Chang says:

    I am from Texas and I got a selection index of 221 for my PSAT. Do I get a good shot to be included in the semifinalist for the National Merit?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      J.,
      You have a good shot, although there is the chance that TX will move to 222 for NMSF this year. Texas has seen upward momentum in the last few years, but it may have reached its peak.

  • Gustavo says:

    Hi Art,

    My son is in CA and got a 1,390 in his PSAT. His school signed up the paperwork and his grades are above the requirement. Since the West cut score is 1280, does it mean that he will get the recognition? also, what is the difference between the national hispanic recognition program and the national hispanic scholar?

    Thanks,

    Gustavo

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Gustavo,
      I can’t say definitively, but I don’t know of any reason why your son will not qualify as a National Hispanic Scholar. That designation is for students who meet all of the criteria in the National Hispanic Recognition Program. Congratulations to your son!

  • Kate says:

    Hello Art,

    Thank you for all this great information. My son received an invitation so he applied. He scored 1450 on PSAT in 11th grade but 1470 in 10th grade. Does the 10th grade score count for anything, or is that just practice? His school reports the weighted GPA, and his is 4.07. We are in Massachusetts. What are the semifinals, and what is the cutoff for them? Does he have a shot at that?

    Thanks!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Kate,
      The sophomore PSAT is just practice as far as NHRP and National Merit are concerned. In the NHRP, there are really only two stages — invitation and recognition. It sounds like your son will be recognized. Semifinalist refers to the National Merit Scholarship Program open to all juniors taking the PSAT (all U.S. citizens or those on a path to citizenship). We don’t yet know the cutoffs for the class of 2019, but MA is likely to be 222 or 223. That’s obviously calculated differently than your son’s 1450 and is known as a Selection Index. The ERW score receives twice the weight of the Math score. For example, if your son received a 720 ERW 730 M, then his Selection Index is 2 x 72 + 73 = 217. The highest Selection Index he could receive with a 1450 would be with a 760 ERW and 690 M, which would give a 221. So he will probably fall short on Semifinalist status. You can learn more here and here.

  • George says:

    Art,

    Would you know when the official recognition for NHRP happens? From your post about NM, that information is going out today. Is that the same timeframe for NHRP?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      George,
      NHRP is administered by College Board and Scholarship America rather than NMSC, so the dates are not the same. I notice that in previous years high schools have congratulated their students as early as September 28, with more happening in October. It sounds like you will find out in about a month. College Board provides the following contact information: Call 1-866-545-8467 and ask for the National Hispanic Recognition Program.

      • Reynold says:

        Can you take the PSAT more than once and if you got a passing score on it can you use this as one of the Requirements for the NHRP?
        Thank you

        • Art Sawyer says:

          Reynold,
          The only PSAT that qualifies students for NHRP is the PSAT/NMSQT taken in fall of junior year.

          • Reynold says:

            Thanks for answering my question sir. It’s kind of disappointing that the SAT can’t be used. My daughter didn’t study hard for this test since it was a practice test and met the requirement with the SAT score. She carries a 4..19 GPA, scored a 29 on ACT, and got a 1340 on SAT. I don’t know if these scores would have gotten her the NHRP award, but if it would have she would have gotten a full ride to the university of Nebraska. UNL doesn’t except the PSAT, only the SAT and ACT. Thank You Mr Sawyer

          • Art Sawyer says:

            Reynold,
            That’s very unfortunate. I believe that NHRP use the PSAT because students all take the test at the same time. It doesn’t hurt that the PSAT serves as a nice marketing tool for College Board to put students on an SAT track. A 1340 would have qualified everywhere but the South region. You are correct that the PSAT is mainly about practice, National Merit, and NHRP. No college uses it for admission. I hope your daughter is able to find other sources of financial aid. Good luck!

  • Regina says:

    Hi Art –

    My daughter is anxiously waiting to hear if she will receive acceptance into the NHRP – we live in NY and her PSAT score was 1390 and her GPA is a 4.0. What is your opinion on her getting this recognition? Thanks so much!

  • George says:

    Art,

    Wanted to pass along that our son in TX received his NHRP certificate yesterday. Other boards have noted that the certificates went out end of last week.

  • Carolina says:

    Art,

    I’m a student from Puerto Rico, which doesn’t really have any statistics, that I’m aware of, for me to know if my PSAT score (1340) is good enough for me to even be considered for the semi-finalists. By any chance, do you know if every student that filed the invitation for the recognition will be informed whether, or not, they qualify for the recognition?

  • Amanda says:

    I was notified in February that I was invited to be apart of the National Hispanic Recognition Program, I also filled out the eligibility form and submitted it to the college board. I have not received a certificate nor an email saying that I was not invited. Do you know when I should expect to receive any information in Arizona? Thank you!

  • Benjamin says:

    Hello Art, I scored a 1390 on the PSAT in Georgia. I’m just curious as to why the cutoff for the South is much higher than other states? Thank you for your time

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Benjamin,
      College Board release little information about the breakdown of recognized students, but it’s presumably similar to what we see with the National Merit Scholarship Program and the varying cutoffs by state. The number of students recognized is allocated by population, but regions are not uniform. The Hispanic students in the South may come from families with higher incomes or educational backgrounds, both of which are correlated with PSAT scores. More Hispanic students in the South may take the PSAT, which would also make things more competitive.

  • Alex says:

    Mr. Sawyer:

    How would I check to enure that my application for NHMS was submitted? I believe I submitted all of the documents required but I have not heard either way.

  • Mia says:

    Hello Art,
    I just came across this program while looking through my PSAT Student Guide. I just wanted to know if I could qualify for this program My mother is from Mexico and my father is from the U.S. Please let me know when you get the chance. Thank you.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Mia,
      Students must have one-quarter Hispanic/Latino ancestry in order to qualify. You would qualify, but you need to list your ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino when answering the relevant question on the PSAT answer sheet.

  • Claire says:

    Thanks for this blog! I found it googling more info about the how and why of the program. My daughter was invited to apply after she took the PSAT Junior Year and we received her certificate this week- the day the PSAT was administered to this years juniors and seniors. I feel the designation has brought a more diverse bunch of mail from colleges to our home. It also boosted her self esteem. The application process was pretty straightforward. We live in Texas and she is 50% Costa Rican.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Claire,
      That’s wonderful to hear. You bring up a good point that these programs can serve to broaden students’ awareness of colleges across the country. Thank you for the information on the timing of the certificate — at least at your daughter’s school.

  • Carin says:

    Hi Art.
    Do you know what schools are most likely to offer the best scholarships for NHM recognition recipients already accepted? SAT scores 1530, 4.3 gpa, 11 AP with 4’s and 5’s and a few tests pending. Graduating from a top 3 high school (but there’s a lot of kids like this from the school, which is why they rank so high). Deep in college apps already but starting to receive requests from schools saying they will waive common or coalition app if he applies and is considered for a full 4 year scholarship, but it’s important to him to choose a college that will prepare for med schoo with high placement ratesl, so not sure if we should consider them or just steer towards our already narrowed list. His reach schools won’t offer merit scholarships and scores aren’t a standout to other applicants, even with all the leadership and volunteer work (and are just too expensive without scholarships since we won’t qualify for need based grants).
    Thanks in advance!
    From WA state
    Class of 2019

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Carin,
      Scholarships really fall outside of my expertise, and the landscape can change frequently. The forums at collegeconfidential.com can be a good source of information from other parents in the same situation. I would encourage you not to rule out colleges just because they seem too expensive. Financial aid comes in many forms. Just because a college does not list a specific scholarship does not mean that no financial aid will be available.

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