AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 1,500 high school students in Texas have been named semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The scholarship program announced Wednesday more than 16,000 semifinalists nationwide. Of those, 1,543 are in Texas, roughly 10% of the nationwide total.

Scholarships worth nearly $28 million combined will be awarded to 7,140 students in the spring.

To be considered, students must take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in their junior year. The highest-scoring students in each state are named semifinalists, and the number from each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of all graduating students nationwide.

The semifinalists are now competing to advance to the finalist stage. They must submit a detailed application, including information about their academic record and participation in school and community activities. They also report any employment, honors and awards and demonstrated leadership abilities.

They must also be endorsed and recommenced by a high school official, write an essay and take the SAT or ACT, to confirm their earlier performance in the qualifying test.

Scholarship money in the program comes from funds from the National Merit Scholarship Program itself, as well as from around 320 business organizations and higher education institutions.

Nearly 375,000 students have earned the Merit Scholar title over the past 68 years.