Students earning first-, second-, and third-place rankings in each category and division receive a medal and cash awards that include:
- first place, $1,000;
- second place, $500; and
- third place, $250.
First-place winners in each category and division are recognized as NEH Scholars. Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities supports the first-place prizes.
Special Student Prizes
Additional cash prizes and medals awarded by NHD include the following:
- Prizes for best entries dealing with special topics in history. The options change somewhat each year but typically include Civil War, naval, labor, Colonial or Revolutionary American, agricultural, women's, Irish or Irish American, African American, baseball, presidential, and federal government history (see a complete list of 2017 prizes).
- Tuition scholarships at the University of Maryland, College Park; Chaminade University, Honolulu; and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Outstanding Affiliate Award
Recipients of the junior and senior division Outstanding Affiliate Awards, selected by each state coordinator, receive an NHD medal.
The Legacy Award
Sponsored by the Creativity Foundation, teachers select students who stand out among their peers. These students show great creative promise and inspiration in their endeavors in any of the disciplines or in public service. Winners go to Washington, DC, to meet with the program's Laureate winner (Past Laureates include Yo-Yo Ma, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Ted Turner). Nominees must be a state contest winner.