How to apply for the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship

The NRF Foundation and retail executive judges are searching for high-performing students who demonstrate a passion for retail and a unique, innovative perspective on our industry to apply for the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship. Recipients will be ambitious, adaptable and have the potential to impact the future of retail.

Application Process

The 2024 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship application process consists of two phases. In the first phase, applicants were required to submit an essay, personal brand video, one letter of recommendation, resume, headshot and school transcripts. The application deadline for phase one is Monday, May 22, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET.

In the second phase, the top 25 applicants are required to complete a case study created in collaboration with Macy's. and complete phone interviews with two assigned retailers. Applicants were notified June 16, 2023 if they were selected to move on to this phase and received their assigned project. The application deadline for phase two is Aug. 8, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

In the third phase, the top 10 applicants will complete quick-fire interviews with the National Retail Federation. From there, the top five finalists will be identified. The finalists will complete their final round interviews in the fall of 2023 with the NRF Foundation Board of Directors.

View the requirements here


Scholarship Timeline

Jan. 31, 2023- Application opens for submissions

May 22, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET - Phase one deadline: Essay, personal brand video, letter of recommendation, resume, school transcripts and headshot due

June 16, 2023 - Up to 25 semifinalists selected and notified if moving on to phase two; company project distributed to those applicants via the scholarship platform

Aug. 8, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET - Phase two deadline: Company project and company interview completed by this time

Sept. 8, 2023 - Top 10 applicants selected and notified

Sept. 14  - Sept. 15, 2023 - Top 10 applicants complete quick-fire interviews with NRF Foundation team

Sept. 21, 2023 - ​Top five finalists selected and notified

Fall 2023 - Final round interviews

January 2024 - Top recipient announced on stage at NRF Foundation Honors


  • Juniors or seniors enrolled full time at a University Member school at the time when the scholarship is presented in January 2024 (Note: current sophomores can apply if they will be of junior standing in January of  2024)
  • Must not have previously received an award of $10,000 or more from the NRF Foundation.
  • Must be U.S. citizens or legal U.S. residents eligible to work in the United States.
  • Must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Must have prior or current experience working in a retail job or internship.
  • Students in any major are eligible. Possible majors include business, merchandising, supply chain, analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, retail studies, computer science, marketing, communications, etc.

Impressing the judges 

Judges are searching for high-performing students who demonstrate a passion for leadership and a unique, innovative perspective on our industry.

The top 25 applicants will either receive a travel stipend to cover registration and travel expenses to attend the NRF Foundation Student Program in New York City, or a tuition award if we are not able to convene in-person in January 2024. Travel stipends/tuition funds will be paid directly to the school. These students are also invited to attend the NRF Foundation Honors.

The NRF Foundation will announce the top recipient in January 2024: one $25,000 scholarship for the top recipient and four $10,000 scholarships. Scholarship proceeds will be made payable to the educational institution at which the student is enrolled. 

Email with questions related to the scholarship process.

Application Portal Tutorial

Learn how to use CommunityForce to apply for the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship