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National Hispanic Recognition Program: Overview + Cutoff Scores

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What’s Covered:


The National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) is one of several initiatives the College Board has undertaken to create pathways to college for underrepresented students. Working with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the National Hispanic Recognition Program identifies talented Hispanic students and connects them with colleges and scholarships.  

Overview of the National Hispanic Recognition Program


Candidates for the National Hispanic Recognition Program are identified through the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Students who list their race as Hispanic/Latino on the PSAT answer sheet are automatically considered for the program. Students who did not identify as Hispanic/Latino on the PSAT can also self-nominate by contacting the College Board at CBRP@scholarshipamerica.org. 


There is no financial award attached to the NHRP, but it is a considerable honor and notable achievement; roughly 400,000 Hispanic/Latino students take the PSAT/NMSQT annually, out of which only about 5,000 students are eligible to apply for the program. Receiving this award can open doors for college admissions and increase scholarship opportunities. 


Eligibility Requirements for National Hispanic Recognition Program


A student must meet a handful of requirements to become eligible for the National Hispanic Recognition Program:


  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their junior year
  • Achieve a minimum qualifying PSAT/NMSQT score (qualifying levels vary by region)
  • Possess a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their junior year
  • Identify as Hispanic or Latinx¬†
  • Be a permanent resident of the U.S. or a U.S. territory


Qualifying students who are invited to apply for the program will need to work with their high school counselors to confirm their GPA and eligibility. In the fall of the senior year, students granted recognition are notified and awards are sent to their high schools.     


How is the NHRP Different from the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP)?


Both the National Hispanic Recognition Program and the National Merit Scholarship Program use the PSAT as a qualifying exam. In fact, students can qualify for both programs, provided they meet the eligibility requirements. Despite sharing a qualifying exam, there are some notable differences between the two programs: 


  • The NHRP is run by the College Board with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund serving as an advisor, while the NMSP is operated by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
  • The NHRP sets qualifying levels by region; conversely, the NMSP sets qualifying levels by state.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.5 is required for eligibility in the NHRP; however, GPA is only considered for the top 1% of scorers on the PSAT (the top third of those automatically entered into the NMSP).
  • The NHRP does not include a financial award; winners of the NMSP award also receive a one-time $2,500 scholarship.¬†
  • Students must identify as Hispanic/Latino for eligibility in the NHRP; ethnicity is not a consideration for NMSP.¬†
  • Students are either recognized in the NHRP or not, but the NMSP has different levels‚ÄĒsome receive letters of commendation, others are recognized as semifinalists, and finalists are chosen from the semifinalists.
  • National Merit finalists require the endorsement of the student‚Äôs principal (or designated official); the NHRP only requires a school official to confirm a student‚Äôs eligibility.¬†¬†

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How is the NHRP Similar to the NMSP?


Despite their differences, there are some commonalities between the NHRP and NMSP‚ÄĒthe most notable of which are the scholarship opportunities that colleges offer to recipients of these awards. For example, students in the National Hispanic Recognition Program can receive a four-year, $40,000 scholarship at Mississippi State University (non-resident students may also receive a scholarship to cover 100% of the out-of-state portion of tuition). Boston University also considers NHRP students for the BU Presidential Scholarship, a four-year, $25,000 award.¬†


Similarly, the National Merit Scholarship Program creates considerable pathways to college scholarships, in addition to the award received by finalists. For example, the University of Alabama has handsome scholarships for both National Merit Award finalists and semifinalists. The University of Arizona is another institution with substantial scholarships for National Merit Award finalists and semifinalists. In fact, the University of Arizona considers both the National Merit Award finalists and members of the National Hispanic Recognition Program for their National Scholars Award.   


National Hispanic Recognition Cutoff Scores


The National Hispanic Recognition Program sets its qualifying score levels by region, and there are six regions:



States Included 

New England 

  • Connecticut¬†
  • Maine¬†
  • Massachusetts¬†
  • New Hampshire¬†
  • Rhode Island¬†
  • Vermont¬†

Middle States 

  • Delaware¬†
  • Maryland¬†
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania¬†
  • Washington, D.C.


  • Alabama
  • Florida¬†
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky¬†
  • Louisiana¬†
  • Mississippi¬†
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina¬†
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia¬†


  • Illinois¬†
  • Indiana¬†
  • Iowa¬†
  • Kansas
  • Michigan¬†
  • Missouri¬†
  • Nebraska¬†
  • North Dakota¬†
  • Ohio¬†
  • South Dakota¬†
  • West Virginia¬†
  • Wisconsin¬†


  • Arkansas¬†
  • New Mexico¬†
  • Oklahoma¬†
  • Texas¬†


  • Alaska¬†
  • Arizona¬†
  • California¬†
  • Colorado¬†
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho¬†
  • Montana¬†
  • Nevada¬†
  • Oregon¬†
  • Utah¬†
  • Washington¬†
  • Wyoming¬†


The College Board does not post the official cutoff scores for the National Hispanic Recognition program, making it difficult to say with certainty what score a student will need to achieve for recognition. Below is an approximation of the score required for admission into the program. 



Cutoff Score 

New England 


Middle States 











How Does the PSAT Impact Your College Chances?


PSAT performance is not commonly considered in the college admissions process‚ÄĒunless you qualify for an award like the National Hispanic Recognition Program or National Merit Scholar Program, that is. As previously mentioned, those honors can both improve a student‚Äôs odds of acceptance at an institution and pave the way to receiving a scholarship.¬†


The key tests used for college admissions are the SAT (which the PSAT is great practice for) and ACT. CollegeVine’s free chancing engine allows you to see what type of scores you’ll need to aim for to get into over 600 colleges. 


In addition to metrics like standardized test scores and GPA, our chancing engine also accounts for other important aspects of college admissions, like extracurricular activities and honors, to predict a student’s odds of acceptance at a particular school. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today and put this powerful tool to work for you!


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.