Outstanding Achievement Award FAQ

Is the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) a scholarship for middle level students?

No. The NJHS OAA is not a scholarship. Recipients receive their award in the form of a 529 college savings plan. Parents/guardians must open a 529 account at a link provided by NJHS, and then NJHS deposits $500 into the account. These funds remain in the account and grow until the family accesses the account to use the funds toward college tuition. Learn more about 529 plans here.

What is the timeline for the 2022 application process?

  • Application process opens: January 2022
  • Application process closes: March 2022
  • Winner notification: May 2022
  • Acceptance deadline: June 1, 2022

This section will be updated in Fall 2021.

Who can apply?

Active members of National Junior Honor Society who are in good standing, in grades 6–8*, and attend a school with an affiliated NJHS chapter are eligible to submit an application. There are no limits to the number of applications that can be submitted per chapter.

*Ninth graders are also eligible if they are still 1) enrolled at a school with an active NJHS chapter and 2) are an active member of that chapter. Ninth graders in 9–12 high schools who are alumni of NJHS are not eligible to apply.

Members of National Honor Society (grades 10–12) are not eligible to apply for this award.

Previous recipients of this award are not eligible to apply.

How do eligible members apply?

  • Eligible members must first create an online accounton the NJHS website. Students who are under the age of 13 must submit a COPPA form to create an online NJHS account.
  • Accounts must then be verified by the NJHS adviser. After verification, members will receive an email confirming verification, and they can then use their account login to access the NJHS OAA application.
  • The link to the application will be available at njhs.us/students/the-njhs-outstanding-achievement-award when the application opens in January 2022.

What does “good standing” mean?

The phrase “in good standing” pertains to active members of the chapter who meet all membership obligations set by their chapter, i.e., minimum GPA, service activities, and expectations for character and leadership. Members should check with their NJHS advisers to confirm they are in good standing before beginning an application. 

What is the difference between membership/account verification and application certification for NJHS advisers?

Verification—NJHS advisers verify that the student who created an account on the NJHS website is a member of their chapter. Advisers should verify all members of their chapter. This is done regardless of the member’s standing in the chapter (good standing, on probation, etc.) and their eligibility for the NJHS OAA. Unverified members cannot access the NJHS OAA application.

Certification—This is exclusive to the NJHS OAA application process. Each NJHS adviser must complete an adviser certification form certifying that the member is in good standing. That certification is due by the deadline.

Why are two forms of parent/guardian consent required?

Student Account Consent—Students under the age of 13 must have parent/guardian consent to create an account on our website by submitting a COPPA form to the NASSP Customer Care Center. Once received, the student’s account is created, and the parent/guardian and student are emailed a password to the student’s account.

Students applying to the NJHS OAA can then log in to the application portal to access their application. COPPA consent is required for all NJHS accounts for students under the age of 13 regardless of the member’s standing in the chapter (good standing, on probation, etc.) or their plan to apply for the NJHS OAA.

Parent Application Consent—This is exclusive to the NJHS OAA application process. Each parent/guardian of an applicant must complete the consent form in the application for their student to be considered for this award. The parent/guardian application consent is due by the deadline.

How are NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award recipients announced?

Student, parents/guardians, principals, and advisers will be notified by email. The full list of recipients will be posted on the NJHS website shortly thereafter. 

How is the award disbursed?

Parents/guardians must establish a 529 account as part of the New Mexico Education Trust Board’s 529 college savings plan: The Education Plan. NJHS will then deposit $500 into the account. Please note that a parent/guardian will be required to be the actual 529 account holder with the student named as the beneficiary.

Who manages the NJHS OAA accounts?

Accounts are managed by Ascensus, a financial management company and third-party administrator of financial accounts—such as retirement and 529 accounts—in the United States. Learn more about Ascensus here.

Is the award renewable?

No, this is a one-time award. Recipients are not eligible to apply again, but a nonrecipient can apply multiple times during their time as an NJHS member as long as they are still in good standing.

I have an existing 529 account. Can the funds be deposited there?

No. Funds for this award are only deposited into accounts held under The Education Plan. However, funds from existing accounts can be rolled into this account.

Must applicants and recipients of the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award be U.S. citizens?

U.S. federal law requires that the 529 College Savings Plan Account owner must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien at least 18 years of age, a state or local government, a tax-exempt organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Code, a custodian under a UGMA/UTMA, or another type of legal entity, such as a trust or a corporation, with a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number and U.S. residential address.

Our school is based outside of the United States. Can our members submit an application?

NJHS members from any affiliated school may apply.

Please note the requirements for recipients of the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award: The 529 College Savings Plan Account Owner must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien at least 18 years of age, a state or local government, a tax-exempt organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Code, a custodian under a UGMA/UTMA, or another type of legal entity, such as a trust or a corporation, with a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number and U.S. residential address. An adult relative in the United States can open the account for the recipient if their current residential address is outside of the United States.

Who can I contact at the national office with general questions about the award program?

Please email [email protected] with any questions not answered above.

I’m a previous recipient and I have an existing account. How do I access it, or whom do I contact with questions about disbursement?

Call Ascensus at 1-888-917-7139. Staff at the NJHS national office cannot access your 529 account. This is private financial information and only the account holder and the account management company can access it.