NSHSS was founded in 2002 by James W. Lewis and Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes, to acknowledge the accomplishments of diverse high school and college students who have demonstrated outstanding academic success, leadership, and community commitment, and to foster their continued success.

NSHSS scholars, many of whom are already DECA members and vice-versa, have a significant interest in pursuing careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and business. More than 34%* of NSHSS members indicate an interest in these career fields.

Together, NSHSS and DECA have a shared vision to support students in achieving their academic and professional development goals. A key attribute of both NSHSS and DECA scholars is diversity of culture, ethnicity, religion, and thought. Both organizations support strong academics and aspire to prepare young leaders and entrepreneurs for their future careers.

NSHSS works directly with educators and educational organizations to identify high school students who meet our membership criteria. Qualified students may receive an invitation provided they are in high school and meet any one of the following criteria:

  • 3.5 Cumulative GPA (4.0 Scale) or higher (or equivalent such as 88 on a 100-point scale)
  • 1280 SAT score or higher
  • 1150 PSAT score or higher
  • 26 ACT score or higher
  • Score 4 or higher on any AP exam
  • Total combined IB test scores of 36 or higher
  • IGCSE Grade A or higher
  • Top 10% rank in class

Does at least one of those criteria describe you?


Visit for information about recommending students for membership.

Did you know that the NSHSS Foundation funds scholarships for high-achieving students? Find out more here.

*See the 2020 NSHSS Career Interest Survey.


The NSHSS-DECA Entrepreneurial Scholar Awards recognizes the outstanding achievements of high school scholars who are active members of both DECA and NSHSS. The scholarship will be focused on those active members who intend to pursue a college major in marketing, finance, hospitality or business.

A total of three (3) scholarships of $1,000 will be awarded and presented to NSHSS members at the DECA International Career Development Conference. Students may visit for more details.

The NSHSS-DECA Advisor Leadership Award is for high school educators who are committed DECA Advisors in active standing. This award program is dedicated to recognizing the outstanding contributions of DECA Advisors who consistently demonstrate an outstanding commitment to preparing DECA students for success in college and in life. This awardee will model best practices in teaching, be a role model for their peers, and demonstrate outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

The vision for the NSHSS-DECA Advisor Leadership Award follows the Nobel family tradition of recognizing world-class individuals and DECA’s long-standing tradition of preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for successful futures.

A total of two (2) awards of $1,000 will be awarded and presented to DECA Advisors at the DECA International Career Development Conference. Click here to learn about NSHSS educator grants.

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How Employees Can Engage with DECA

DECA has many opportunities for organizations and their employees to engage with DECA. From volunteering as a classroom speaker, mentor or judge, to representing your company by exhibiting to advertising in publications, there are countless opportunities to engage with DECA and its membership.

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