National Hispanic Recognition Program – Details and Qualifying Scores

By September 17, 2018 For 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.


  • Avatar 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

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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?

  • Avatar Robert says:

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

  • Avatar 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.”

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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

    • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar Jack says:

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

  • Avatar Irfaun says:

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

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar jake says:


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

  • Avatar 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?

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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?

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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!

    • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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?

    • Avatar 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.

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