The Chronicle of Higher Education reported recently that KU has moved up to 12th among American public universities for number of freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled in 2005. KU ranks 29th among all universities and last year was rated 16th among public universities.
KU enrolled 71 freshman Merit Scholars in 2005. In 2004, 57 students with the designation enrolled. Of the 71 who enrolled in 2005, the university sponsored 55.
Harvard University was at the top of the list with 287 freshman Merit Scholars. The University of Texas-Austin followed with 262, which was the largest number among public universities.
The National Merit scholarship is widely regarded as the most prestigious national award bestowed upon high school seniors. Fewer than 10,000 students of the 1.2 million who compete for the award, or fewer than 1 percent, receive National Merit scholarships. Recipients are chosen based on their academic abilities and records and extracurricular activities.