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National Hispanic Recognition Program – Details and Qualifying Scores

By September 17, 2018September 19th, 2019For Students, National Merit, PSAT

September 18 Update — NHRP certificates  for the class of 2019 were mailed directly to students last week. Recognized students should be receiving letters shortly. Applicants who failed to qualify will be (or have been) notified by email. If you have questions, the best contact is Scholars Apply, which administers the program for College Board. The phone number is 866-545-8467. The email is nhrp@scholarshipamerica.org.

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

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.


  • Mark says:

    Hello Art, does the College Board report the cut-off scores by state or region for the National Hispanic Recognition Program? Those would be helpful for knowing (based on my son’s scores as a sophomore) whether he has a shot (perhaps with a good deal of prep) at improving enough to qualify as a junior. It seems College Board does not report them, but one can find a couple of cases of parents who report (for example, on CollegeConfidential.com) that someone at CB vouchsafed the cut-off scores for a given year and state/region. I am striking out with College Board in terms of sending messages asking for the cut-off score by region for 2021. Is this just a case of having to hit upon the right customer service rep who will dig it out and reveal it? I have also struck out in 6 calls to CB, including a couple of reps who spent >1 hour trying to help. Thank you.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      College Board does not report them. Your description of the process is correct. Sometimes a rep gives out that information. How accurate that is and where the rep is getting that information, I can’t say.

  • Tina says:


    My son received a certificate in Sept as a 2022-2023 National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. He applied to his first choice school as Early Action and indicated this information on the Common App. In his Financial Aid package he did not receive this award, which the University lists as one of their awards. How do we go about getting this?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Hopefully you have already contacted the university’s financial aid office. They are the only ones who can clear up the confusion. Congratulations to your son on his early acceptance!

  • Lynn says:

    Any idea what region military dependents stationed overseas fall into? My oldest son emailed and called last year, but that question was never answered. He did end up getting an invitation to apply and received the award. Now my younger son is wondering the same question because he would very likely qualify in most (but not all) regions, and being stationed overseas, it is not clear what region he falls under.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I don’t know. In general, the location of a student’s high school is used. I have never seen military bases listed as a separate selection unit (as are U.S. territories and commonwealths). This makes me think that the Students Studying Abroad cutoff would apply. If you do hear from NMSC on this topic, please send along its answer. Thank you!

      • Art Sawyer says:

        Apologies, Lynn. I am answering so many National Merit questions that I failed to see that your question was about the National Hispanic Recognition Program. That’s administered by College Board, and I don’t know what region it applies to military dependents overseas.

  • Mike says:

    Hi Art, If my son receives an invitation to apply from College Board for NHRP does that mean he will automatically receive the award if above a 3.5 GPA?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I hesitate to answer definitively, because College Board has tinkered with its recognition programs in recent years. AFAIK, the invitation goes out to students with a qualifying PSAT score. In addition to the 3.5 GPA, your son “must identify as Hispanic or Latinx and have permanent address in the United States, a United States Territory, US military base or attend a DoDEA school.”

  • Marlena says:

    Hi Art,
    I have 2 questions:
    1. I recently received an email telling me that I have been recognized for the National Hispanic Recognition Program. I believe that this is the highest level of recognition I can get with NHRP but I want to clarify that there aren’t multiple tiers of recognition the way the National Merit Scholar does. (Semi-Finalist, Finalist, etc.).
    2. I have already submitted all of my applications through Common-App. Since I cannot attach my NHRP recognition to the application, do I send it to admissions personally? Or is the recognition list automatically sent out to schools?

    Thanks so much!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Sorry for the delayed response, Marlena. The holidays put me in a backlog!

      1) You are correct about NHRP. It is a recognition program and not a scholarship competition with multiple levels. You reached the top!
      2) The recognition is not automatically sent to schools. In these situations, the Common App recommends that students reach out directly to admission offices.

  • Sofi says:

    Hello, I’m a Junior in the Mid West, and we normally study for the ACT. Does the organization accept and ACT score, and if so what’s the minimum. Also am I too late for applying for it or can I still join and get selected if I meet the criteria?

  • Anny says:

    Hi Art, thank you for the useful information. Do you know when it’s the latest to expect to receive an invitation letter (just checking to see if he should self-nominate even though he did check off that he is Hispanic)? My son got a 1320 on the PSAT in October, is his score too low to expect an invitation(we are in California)? Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Based on the original NHRP breakdowns, a 1320 would probably qualify. I don’t know the impact of College Board’s overhaul of its Recognition Programs. I would try to contact College Board before you go through the self-nomination process.

      • Rosario says:

        Hi Art, We are approaching the end of February and still no word regarding NHRP? Any word on when it may be released? Since there are reported issues with the October 16th administration, do you think that’s the reason for the delay? If yes, does it look like cut-offs may go down?

        • Art Sawyer says:

          I have no information to share. I don’t know how or if College Board’s changes to its recognition programs are impacting timelines.

          The PSAT scores would not be a reason for the delay. I do expect the cutoffs to go down. We have seen fewer high scores this year — and not by a small margin.

          • Claudia says:

            The scores (at least for the WEST/ Arizona) went up considerably. Last year it was 1290. This years cutoff was 1360. That’s a huge increase.

          • Art Sawyer says:

            Thank you for sharing this, Claudia. This page really needs an overhaul. The change from NHRP to CBRP means that the old score levels are largely irrelevant. The program is no longer exclusive to Hispanic/Latinx students, so it’s very different across the board.

  • Jill says:

    Hi Art. Do you know the cut-off scores for the Middle States for 2020?


  • Jiana says:

    Hi! I received a 1300 on my PSAT in October and my friend (we go to the same school) got a 1270 I believe. Earlier this week she got an email about applying or qualifying for NHRP but I haven’t recieved one. Should I be concerned?

  • Melanie says:

    Thank you so much for the useful information! Would a 1330 on the PSAT qualify for NHRP in New Jersey this year?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I haven’t had reports on cutoffs this year, and College Board appears to be making some changes in its recognition programs. I hope to learn more. Good luck!

  • BRAZUSA says:

    Hi Art. Thank you for providing all this helpful information! My son is currently a junior and attends high school in NY; in October 2019, he scored a 1370 on the PSAT. Do you think that score will be good enough to qualify for the NHRP representing the Middle States this year (2020)?

  • Javi says:

    Once you receive the award, are there any additional steps to do?

  • V says:

    Hello, I am in the graduating class of 2021 . What is the projected score cut off for the Southwest?

  • Arianna says:

    what is the cutoff score for the West?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I don’t have the cutoff for the class of 2020 for the West. Students with qualifying scores were notified earlier this year. If you are in the class of 2021 and thinking ahead, you can estimate that you’ll want to get a 1300 or above on this year’s PSAT.

  • Gabe says:

    I applied for the NHRP in the spring and have not received any email saying that I did not get accepted. Lately, I’ve actually been getting emails from colleges congratulating me for becoming a National Hispanic scholar; however, I have not received my certificate through the mail. Is there any way I can find out if it was suppose to arrive?

  • mary says:

    Hi Art,
    I got the certificate for NHRP in the mail today but I’m not sure what it means. Do you know if it helps in getting a scholarship?

  • Terry says:

    Any indication of when and how students will be notified? The guidance is sort of confusing. The application instruction page on the College Board website says that recipients will be notified in fall (no month indicated) and they will be mailed a certificate. It says only those who did not receive the honor will be notified via email. But, elsewhere on the College Board website, its says that certificates are mailed to the schools in September and the candidate is notified via email if they receive the recognition.

    Finally, from this blog post from last year, it seems like certificates were mailed “to the students” sometime during the 2nd week of September for the 2019 class. Should the 2020 class be expected the certificates to be arriving at their home this week or next week? Or will they be mailed to the school this year? Or should the students be checking their email for the announcement? It is a little frustrating that so little information is released about this program and the little bit that is out there has conflicting details.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      The application instruction page is correct. Another parent called last week: “I was told on Friday when I called for information that email notifications had gone out on Thursday to those that DID NOT get in and that “Certificates” will be mailed out on Monday September 16th, 2019 and to look out for a white envelope from the College Board.”

      I answered too hastily last night when I said that students would receive notice via email.

      • John says:

        I applied for the program in February and live in Seattle. My PSAT score was a 1400 and my nonweighted GPA on a 4 point scale is a 3.955. I have not received an email saying I did not receive recognition but have not received anything in the mail yet. Should I be worried?

        • Art Sawyer says:

          In this case, I think it’s just a matter of no news is good news. The mail is probably just slow to arrive. I would try calling Scholarship America, which administers the program for College Board. Your scores and GPA are high enough to have qualified.

  • D says:

    My daughter has a 5.07 GPA and scored a 1400 on the PSAT in Texas. She applied for National Merit Hispanic Society and National Merit Society, but we have heard nothing from either one. Would our contact be via mail, email, College Board, etc? Thank you.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      National Hispanic Scholars will be notified by email. I don’t believe notifications have gone out yet. You can contact Scholars Apply for more details. It looks like your daughters score and GPA will qualify her.

      Students are automatically considered for National Merit honors (not related to NHRP) after taking the PSAT. Your daughter’s PSAT score is not high enough to be named as a Semifinalist in Texas. It may be high enough for her to be a Commended student. Those notifications have recently been sent to schools by NMSC.

  • Lorey says:

    Dear Mr. Sawyer,
    My daughter has ha GPA of 4.3 she is in the south region and her SAT was 1310, would she still be considered and has a chance or it needs to be 1370 or higher?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Unfortunately, College Board has really made it hard to get reliable information on the current state of the program. Her GPA is strong enough, but I don’t know whether the 1310 will qualify her.

  • Jill says:

    Mr Sawyer,
    My son (class of 2020) did not receive an invitation in February although his score pSAT score in Texas was 1300 and his GPA is 3.76. Do you think he’ll be recognized in Sept, 2019? I’m concerned because his NMSC Selection index score was 187 as he scored very well in math. Your thoughts?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      The 1300 should be high enough for Texas. It’s possible that your son did not mark his ethnicity in his registration materials. You can contact Scholars Apply about self-nomination and, I believe, still be able to make the July 1 deadline. The application requires verification by the school, so you’ll want to get things rolling before summer break. Good luck.

  • Ted says:

    Hi Art,

    We are filling out the verification form and they ask for Title after the parent’s name. What kind of title are they looking for? Job title, honorific, etc.?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      It looks like they are just duplicating the layout of the School Official/Teacher section, where job title makes sense. For a parent, I think all that is needed is PARENT.

  • Virginia says:

    My son is a junior and received an invitation to apply for NHRP (SW region). He scored 1380 and has 4.04 weighted GPA. He just submitted his application. His sister is a sophomore and scored 1290; she will take it next year when it counts. She is ranked 2/465 with a 4.229 weighted GPA. Both kids take only PAP/AP everything, the highest math and science plus dual credit courses and are very well-rounded (competitive piano, will letter all 4 years in golf, etc). Their ISD has highest grade from state board (three straight As). Just wondering where they fall. Is there a list of NHRP semifinalist and/or finalists? I found the list of Semifinalist for last few years for NMSP. I cannot find a list by state and city for NHRP. Please advise.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Sorry for the delayed reply. Unlike the National Merit competition, the NHRP is cut-and-dried. Students are invited to apply based on SAT score and are recognized — technically there aren’t semifinalists or finalists — as long as they meet the qualifications on GPA and Hispanic/Latino background and check all of the appropriate boxes on the application. Given his numbers, your son should receive a certificate of recognition this September.

      College Board does not publicly release a list of honorees, which is unfortunate.

  • Sheila says:

    How do they decide what is a qualifying score? We live in Tx so my daughter easily made the cutoff but I’m just curious why LA, FL, etc.. are so much higher.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      The number of students recognized is based on the population of Hispanic/Latinx students in a region, but high scoring students are not spread uniformly across the country. Income levels, parental education, and school funding all vary and can all play a role.

  • mary says:

    If I received an invitation and I got 1400 on the PSAT and have a 4.0 weighted GPA, will that be enough to get recognition? Also, do you know if getting it will help me with college applications?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I assume that you are class of 2020. You should have already been invited to apply, as your 1400 is high enough. Your 4.0 GPA is high enough, as well.

      It’s a nice honor and some schools will look at it favorably. You should be proud of the achievement. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn’t provide a lot of additional information to them. If you did well on the PSAT, you’ll probably do well on the SAT. And colleges will obviously see your grades.

  • Michele says:

    My son qualifies for the NHRP. Do you see any downside to submitting this recognition to colleges? For example, if he submitted his NHRP letter to Boston University he could qualify for the Presidential Scholarship. But let’s say his actual SAT or ACT score comes in very high and maybe he would qualify for a Trustee Scholarship which is for full tuition vs partial. Would he only be granted the lessor scholarship because he submitted the NHRP?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      For scholarship questions — especially ones involving large $$$ — I’d recommend going right to the school. Usually colleges are interested in wooing the best candidates with their scholarship dollars, so I doubt that BU would penalize your son for being extra qualified. I’d check.

  • jake says:


    I meet all requirements from the scoring, is there a possibility that I won’t be accepted or am I guaranteed recognition

  • Danielle says:

    Hello. We are from California. Our son received an invitation to NHRP this year, his PSAT score was 1340. We would like to know if there is a downside (reporting a lower best score) by adding his name to the NHRP list. His best ACT score is 30 which equals a SAT 1370. HIs best SAT score is 1350. Thank you for all you do.

  • Irfaun says:

    If im from missouri and got a 1260 should I apply and see if I get in?

  • Jack says:

    Does USC offer their half tuition presidential scholarship to NHRP finalists or only National Merit finalists?

  • Gustavo says:

    Do you know if students invited to apply with the qualifying GPA are automatically awarded? Is there any further cut? The invitation letter says my son scored on the top 2% of Hispanics in his region ( we are in TX), I guess that was the first cut.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Unlike National Merit, there is no further competition against other students. Students who have the requisite GPA and have their eligibility approved by their school will receive recognition.

  • Ana says:

    How are students notified if they are eligible to apply to the Hispanic Recognition Program? My son got a 1270 PSAT score and we live in Arkansas. His GPA is 4.07. Thank you. Ana

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I believe that notifications have already been sent. Unfortunately, Arkansas falls in the South region, which has the highest qualifying scores each year.

    • Gustavo says:

      I may be wrong but according to the map, AR is in the Southwest region along with TX, OK and NM. I read in other forums the qualifying score for that region was 1290, last year it was 1270. I leave the contact information so you can verify that.

      Contact NHRP
      Email NHRP or call 866-545-8467.

      • Art Sawyer says:

        Thank you for the correction, Gustavo. My map reading skills failed me on that one. Yes, I’ve received confirmation that the Southwest region was 1290 this year.

  • gustavo says:

    My son received the invitation letter yesterday and now I am wondering if his 4.3 Weighted GPA will be enough. I do not know exactly what his unweighted GPA is. The form clearly says GPA must be on a 4.0 but it also says provide the higher of W or UW. It sounds very confusing for me.

    This is what the application says:

    “Please provide the student’s cumulative GPA at the mid-point of junior year. The GPA must be provided on a 4.0 scale. If the school calculates both weighted and unweighted GPAs, provide the higher of the two. Failure to provide a GPA will deem your application incomplete.”

    I emailed the College Board and the answer was this:

    “Thank you for your interest in the National Hispanic Recognition Program.
    He may be considered with a weighted or unweighted whichever the school fills out in the Verification Form. The GPA must be 3.5 or above.”
    Please let us know if you have any other questions, or if we can assist you further.”

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your son is all set. You are right that talking about a 4.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale is a little odd, but that’s convention and is what College Board means. There are some schools that report grades, for example, on a 0-100 scale. The representative is referring to the fact that the school must fill out the verification form. I’m not sure why they would not use the 4.3.

  • Robert says:

    Hi Art, as an FYI, just spoke with NHRP and the score in NY was 1330 this year.

  • Elisa says:

    Hi, My daughter recieved an invitation because of her psat score which was 1370 (we live in CA), but her GPA is currently a 3.1. Does she have a chance at getting recognized?

  • Robert says:

    Hi Art, great information on this board for sure, thanks so much. My son who is of Dominican descent lives in NY and scored 1370 on October’s PSAT. He has a 3.9 GPA. While we haven’t heard anything, was wondering if you thought that was enough to merit consideration for the NHRP

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I also saw your follow-up post that NY’s cutoff was 1330 this year. Thank you.

      This should mean that your son was invited to apply for recognition. Is that what NHRP told you? His GPA is well above the 3.5 needed to receive recognition.

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