SEARCY — Harding University accepted a local resident as one of 13 freshmen National Merit Finalists for fall 2011, bringing the total number of finalists on campus to 52. Claire Summers of Conway will receive a full-tuition and technology fee scholarship to the University for eight semesters and a $2,000 stipend per year that can be used toward additional education expenses. All National Merit Finalists must maintain a 3.25 grade point average to keep the scholarship.

National Merit Finalists are chosen by state from a pool of the nation’s top 50,000 high scorers based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT taken during their junior year of high school. The National Merit Scholarship Program began in 1955 and now has more than 1.5 million applicants annually.