Program Description

Download 2020-21 Fact Sheet

The Benacquisto Scholarship Program is a merit scholarship for high school graduates who receive recognition as a National Merit® Scholar. Eligible scholars will receive an award equal to the institutional cost of attendance for an in-state student minus the sum of Bright Futures and the National Merit® award. An initial application is not required.

Program Requirements

  • Earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalency (unless the student completes a home education program or earns a high school diploma from a non-Florida high school while living with a parent who is on military or public service assignment away from Florida).
  • Be a 2021 National Merit® Scholar.
  • Enroll at an eligible Florida postsecondary institution during the 2021-22 Fall academic term following high school graduation.

A student who is a non-Florida resident seeking initial funding must:

  • Earn a high school diploma comparable to a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalency (or completes a home education program).
  • Be a 2021 National Merit® Scholar.
  • Enroll at an eligible Florida postsecondary institution during the 2021-22 Fall academic term following high school graduation.
  • Physically reside in Florida on or near the institution’s campus where enrolled.

A 2021 National Merit® Finalist becomes a Scholar by receiving:

(a) a National Merit® $2500 Scholarship,
(b) a Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship®, or
(c) a College-sponsored Merit Scholarship®.

NOTE: “Special” Corporate Scholarships and “Presidential” awards do not qualify a student for the Benacquisto Scholarship.

All students will:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen (as determined by the institution) and enroll at an eligible, regionally accredited, public or independent Florida postsecondary institution.
  • Enroll full-time (minimum 12 credit hours per term or quarter equivalency) in a baccalaureate degree program.

National Merit College Sponsor

New College participates with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation as a College Sponsor. To be considered for a New College sponsorship, the student would need to choose New College as a first choice when responding to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

Student Award Renewal

  • An application is not required to renew the award.
  • Eligibility for renewal is determined at the end of each academic year.

For automatic renewal, an award recipient will have:

  • Earned credit for all hours enrolled by the end of the regular drop/add period each term.
  • Satisfied both fall and spring academic contracts along with the ISP.

Award Procedures

Eligible students will receive an award equal to the per-term institutional in-state cost of attendance (COA), minus the sum of the Bright Futures (BF) award and an award associated with the National Merit® (NM) process. Benacquisto Scholarship Award = COA – (BF + NM)

  • The COA is the total estimated amount of cost to attend college full-time each term, and may include but is not limited to: tuition & fees, on-campus room & board, books, supplies, travel, and miscellaneous expenses.
  • The highest in-state institutional COA, as reported by the Board of Governors of the State University System, will be used in the calculation of awards for students who attend an eligible four-year independent postsecondary institution.
  • The award may not be used to pay for remedial coursework or developmental education.

Award Disbursement

The postsecondary institution will disburse awards to eligible students each term. Awards are not currently available for the summer.

Terms of Eligibility

  • This program will provide funds for 100 percent of the number of credit hours required to complete a baccalaureate degree program, or until completion of a baccalaureate degree program, whichever comes first.
  • Extended hours of funding are available to students enrolled in a single program of study requiring more than 120 hours by submitting the following application: Extended Hours Application
  • A student is eligible to receive an award for a maximum of 10 semesters or 15 quarters.
  • Students who received a College-sponsored Merit Scholarship® must maintain enrollment at the institution where the student was initially funded in order to maintain scholarship eligibility.