National Council of Excellence

Middle level and high school student councils that consistently provide quality leadership activities and service to their schools and communities can earn national recognition through National Student Council’s National Council of Excellence (NCOE) program.

There are two levels of recognition: A student council achieves a National Council of Excellence Award when it has demonstrated that it meets all the National Student Council requirements, and the National Gold Council of Excellence award is awarded to those councils that demonstrate the highest levels of leadership as well as meet additional standards as set by NatStuCo.

These awards distinguish outstanding student councils by guiding student leaders and their faculty advisers through a process featuring standards-based criteria and demonstration-based outcomes, reflecting more than 80 years of expertise in student council and leadership programming.

Applications for the 2021 NCOE Award are now closed. View the list of 2021 winners.

Applications for the 2022 NCOE Award are expected to open in September 2021.


Visit the Middle Level Criteria page and the High School Criteria page for more details about what criteria is required to achieve NCOE status at each grade level.


Student councils that earn a National Council of Excellence Award receive:
  • A National Council of Excellence certificate proclaiming their achievement
  • An official letter from National Student Council recognizing and congratulating student leaders and the school
  • A press release that can be customized for local news media
  • Inclusion of their school name in the winners’ list published on the National Student Council website
  • Recognition during the National Student Council Conference—winning schools are displayed during the conference and delegates from winning schools will receive official National Council of Excellence ribbons
  • Eligibility to purchase special recognition items designed specifically for National Council of Excellence award winners
  • A special National Council of Excellence winners’ seal in JPG format for placement on school websites and in electronic or print communications
  Congratulations to the councils celebrating their 10th year of being named a National Council of Excellence:
2021 “Decade of Excellence” Winners
NJ Bergen County Academies
CO Boulder High School
NV Desert Oasis High School
MA Minnechaug Regional High School
OR Oregon City High School
MD River Hill High School