The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship is the pinnacle achievement for students interested in pursuing careers in retail. This opportunity was created for students of various academic backgrounds who have demonstrated leadership skills, previous retail experience, and a passion for making an impact.
This scholarship develops students’ skills in retailing, business, and critical thinking, preparing and encouraging them to not only launch their career in retail, but be recognized among the next generation of leaders in the industry. Since its launch, more than $800,000 in funds have been awarded through the Next Generation Scholarship.
The 2020-2021 Next Generation Scholarship application is now closed. Learn more about the Class of 2022 and check back for updates at the end of this year for next year's application details.
The 2021-2022 Next Generation scholarship application consists of two phases. In the first phase, applicants will submit an essay, personal brand video, two letters of recommendation, resume, headshot and school transcripts. Applications are due on April 16, 2021.
Applicants will be notified by May 12, 2021 if they are selected to move on to the semifinalist stage. In this phase, 25 students will be required to complete a case study created in collaboration with Meijer and two interviews with assigned retailers by August 6, 2021. From there, 10 students will advance and complete quick-fire video interviews with the NRF team. The top five finalists will then be selected and notified by Sept. 14, 2021. The finalists will complete final round interviews with members of the NRF Foundation Board of Directors to determine the top recipient.
The top recipient will receive a $25,000 tuition scholarship, and four finalists will receive $10,000 tuition scholarships. Learn more about the application process including submission requirements and key dates here.
The NRF Foundation is hosting two information sessions, open to all students and educators, to learn more about this year's competition.
- Juniors or seniors enrolled full time at a University Member school at the time when the scholarship is presented in January 2022 (Note: current sophomores can apply if they will be of junior standing in January of 2022)
- 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. This could be anything from working as a bagger at a grocery store or a server/host at a restaurant to having a summer internship with a retailer.
- Students in any major are eligible. Possible majors include business, merchandising, supply chain, analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, retail studies, computer science, marketing, communications, etc.
For more information, review the full eligibility requirements (PDF).
"As a Next Generation Scholarship finalist, I had the opportunity to attend the Student Program and Gala in New York, but my favorite part about the experience was networking with professionals and meeting so many hardworking and intelligent peers. This experience led to so many great connections and has positively impacted my life in more ways than I can count."
- Brittany Rhoa, Kent State University
"The Next Generation scholarship has impacted me in so many ways that I am grateful for. I aim to be a strong leader and set positive examples for others through my work, and I am certain that the Next Generation scholarship was paramount in helping me achieve this goal — I’ve already learned so much about myself and the industry in general because of it."
- Marlowe Camblin, Santa Clara University