National Merit Scholarship Program

National Merit Scholarships ( are awarded to entering high school graduates by Undergraduate Admissions to recognize outstanding academic performance.

National Merit recipients who are Florida Residents and are receiving a UCF or Corporate Sponsored National Merit Scholarship will receive their award through the Benacquisto Scholarship Program (formally known as the Florida Incentive Scholarship Program or FIS). if it is available the year they begin UCF as a first time in college student.

Students need to be aware that those individuals receiving their award as offered from the UCF Undergraduate Admissions Office cannot exceed their Cost of Attendance with all resources available each year. In the event, a student receives additional awards; their National Merit Award will be reduced.

For more information about this special award program and merit scholarships, email Mr. Luke van Blaricom of The Scholars Program at or call (407) 823-3000.

Bright Futures Scholarships are awarded upon high school graduation by the Office of Student Financial Assistance, Florida Department of Education.

Pegasus Program Scholarships will be awarded to students upon admission to UCF.

National Merit Scholarship Program Requirements:

Recipients of this scholarship program should make note of the following:

Required Form:

The processed results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be received at UCF by June 1 each and every year. To allow time for unforeseen processing delays, it is strongly recommended that students file the FAFSA no later than April 15 so there is ample time for the processed results to be received by UCF. Note: To be given the greatest consideration of other types of financial aid, students should file the FAFSA by February 15 each year to meet our application priority date of December 1st each year.

The first time the FAFSA is filed late, a one-time courtesy reinstatement will be granted to the student upon receipt of the FAFSA and submission of a Scholarship Appeal Form along with a letter of explanation for missing the deadline.

Students submitting the FAFSA late a second time will be cancelled, and will need to submit a Scholarship Appeal, along with a letter explaining the reason/s for missing the deadline, and documentation to support the extenuating circumstances. The appeal will be submitted before the UCF Scholarship Committee for review, and a decision will be rendered. Students will be notified via email of the decision or if additional information is needed.

Required Hours:

Students must enroll full-time (a minimum of 12 UCF credit hours) each fall and spring term. Note: Transient hours taken at another institution will not be considered in the hours calculated for full-time enrollment for the purpose of this scholarship. The only exception to the full-time enrollment requirement is granted to students during their graduating semester.

For the exception to be extended, students must provide a memo on letterhead from their academic advisor indicating:

  • Student’s name and PID
  • Semester graduation is expected
  • Name of course(s) needed for graduation
  • Name of the undergraduate degree to be received

If a student enrolls in less than six UCF hours during their graduating semester, the exception must be approved by the UCF Scholarship Committee. Students should submit their request at least two months prior to the beginning of their graduating semester to have a decision rendered before the beginning of the semester.

Scholarship Deferment:

Students receiving the National Merit Scholarship may request a deferment for the purpose of taking part in activities that would interrupt their required continuous enrollment at the University of Central Florida.

A scholarship deferment request can hold the National Merit Scholarship for a maximum of two semesters. Acceptable reasons to defer a scholarship include, but are not limited to: military service, documented medical conditions, internships/Co-Ops, religious missions, etc. At the time of deferment, student must be meeting the renewal criteria for the scholarship. A deferment will not be granted for attendance at any other higher education institution.

Students seeking a deferment must complete a Scholarship Appeal Form and submit a letter indicating the reason for the request, along with supporting documentation. The appeal must be submitted no later than two months prior to the start of the semester in which the deferment is being requested.

Failure to obtain approval prior to departure from the university will result in cancellation of scholarship.


Students must enroll full-time (a minimum 12 credit hours) each fall and spring semester. If extenuating circumstances exist that prevent full-time enrollment, students may appeal to the UCF Scholarship Committee. Appeals must be submitted prior to the semester in which the exception is being requested.

Failure to obtain approval to enroll less than full-time will result in cancellation of scholarship.