The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced that Las Cruces High School graduate Elisa Davidson, 18, has been selected as one of the approximately 3,200 winners of this year’s College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships. Each scholarship recipient will be provided between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. Recipients we selected by officials from each sponsor college from a pool of 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists planning to attend their institution.

Elisa Davidson

Elisa Davidson

Davidson is the only recipient from Las Cruces Public Schools to win this year’s National Merit University of New Mexico (UNM) Scholarship and is one of only 16 college-sponsored scholarship recipients from throughout New Mexico.  She has announced that her probable career field will be Nursing. Davidson is the daughter of Dean and Carmen Davidson.

This year, 182 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 103 private and 79 public institutions located in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Today’s announcement is the third National Merit Scholar release in 2017 by NMSC. NMSC named recipients of corporate-sponsored awards on April 19 and winners of National Merit $2500 Scholarships on May 10. An additional group of Scholars will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2017 competition to approximately 4,000. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,500 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2015 when over 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2017 program, about 7,500 Finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $32 million in college scholarships.

NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 420 independent corporate and college sponsors that share NMSC’s goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education.

Earlier this year, Davidson was recognized at the Annual LCPS Foundation Celebration of Excellence Dinner for being named a National Merit Scholar and a National Hispanic Scholar Finalist.

— National Merit news from: Eileen Artemakis, Public Information, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, 847.866.5100,