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NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship

Next Generation Scholarship Winners 2023

NRF Foundation
Next Generation Scholarship

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 skills in retailing, business and critical thinking, and prepares and encourages students to launch their career in retail and earn recognition among the next generation of leaders in the industry. Since its launch, more than $800,000 in funds have been awarded through the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship.

The 2023-24 Next Generation Scholarship is now live!
Click here to view the application and apply.

The Application

The 2024 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship application consists of two phases. In the first phase, applicants submitted an essay, personal brand video, one letter of recommendation, resume, headshot and school transcripts. Applications are due on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

Applicants will be notified by June 16, 2023, if they are selected to move on to the semifinalist stage. In this phase, 25 students are required to complete a case study created in collaboration with Macy's and two interviews with assigned retailers by Aug. 8, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET. 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. 21, 2023. 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 will serve on the NRF Foundation Board of Directors for one year. Four finalists will receive $10,000 tuition scholarships each.

View this year's requirements document

Register to attend our two information sessions, open to all students and educators, to learn more about the 2023-24 competition:

Info Session 1: Friday, February 24, 12:00pm (Noon) ET - Watch the recording 

Info Session 2: Monday, April 10, 5:00pm ET - Register here

Eligibility Requirements

  • 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. 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).

"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."
- 2018 finalist Brittany Rhoa of Kent State University

NRF Foundation scholarship finalists on why it's worth it to apply
The highest honor that the NRF Foundation can bestow upon a student features a top award of $25,000 and recognition as an emerging leader in retail.

"The NRF Foundation 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 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."
- 2018 finalist Marlowe Camblin of Santa Clara University

NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship recipient finds limitless opportunity in retail
NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship recipient Garrett Ledbetter 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.
Garrett Ledbetter

Explore the schedule for informational calls to learn more about NRF Foundation scholarship opportunities here.