Next Generation Scholarship

next gen finalists

Next Generation Scholarship

The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship is the pinnacle achievement for students at NRF University Member schools who are currently pursuing retail careers or majors relevant to retail. This opportunity was created for students who have demonstrated leadership skills, previous retail experience and a passionate interest in making an impact in the retail industry. Since its launch, more than $100,000 in funds have been awarded through the Next Generation Scholarship.

The Application

The 2019 Next Generation scholarship application process 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. 

Applicants are notified if they have been selected to move on to the semi-finalist stage. In this phase, applicants will be required to complete a company-specific project and interview with an assigned retailer. From there, five finalists will be selected to advance to the final round and will be interviewed by a group of retail executives to determine the top recipient.


The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship is open to sophomore, junior and senior students enrolled full-time at a NRF University Member school when the scholarship is awarded in January 2019.

To apply, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident eligible to work in the United States.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Have had prior or current experience working in a retail job or retail 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. 
  • Be available to attend and participate in The NRF Foundation Student Program in New York City, January 11-13, 2019. 

Previous Next Generation finalists and semi-finalists and Ray Greenly finalists are not eligible to apply. 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

Next Generation recipient finds limitless opportunity in retail
Garrett Ledbetter, a Next Generation Scholarship recipient, shares the story of his retail career path, how he’s already shaping retail’s next generation of talent and what the industry means to him today.
Garrett Ledbetter

"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

Other opportunities

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Student Program
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NRF Student Ambassadors
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