Twenty high school seniors in this region are among 5,800 merit scholars nationally who will share about $7 million in corporate-sponsored college scholarships this fall, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced.

The students are in the first of three groups of merit scholars to be announced this spring. Local winners include the District's Alexandra F. Boer, who attends National Cathedral School; her corporate sponsor is the Grace Foundation.

Selected students from Washington suburbs, and their home towns, schools and sponsors are: Maryland

Robert S. Greeley, Annapolis, Annapolis Senior High School, McGraw-Hill Foundation; Carolyn J. Karr, Bethesda, Walt Whitman High School, Dow Jones; Jennifer Y. Wu, Bethesda, Walt Whitman, Dreyfus; Jennifer C. Holmes, Columbia, Bryn Mawr School, SCM Corp.; Stephen S. Howell, Columbia, Centennial High School, Computer Sciences Corp.; Matthew M. Wolf, Columbia, Loyola High School, estate of Mary E. Beyerle, and Daniel R. Kuespert, Ellicott City, Centennial High School, Dreyfus.

John C. Fretwell, Lexington Park, St. Mary's Ryken High School, Xerox Corp.; David J. Cutler, Potomac, Winston Churchill High School, estate of Mary E. Beyerle; Oggi Park, Rockville, Richard Montgomery High School, estate of Mary E. Beyerle, and Carol W. Wu, Silver Spring, Paint Branch High School, Computer Sciences Corp.Virginia

Robert S. Benson, Alexandria, Mount Vernon High School, Weyerhaeuser Co.; Jared J. Brennan, Alexandria, T.C. Williams High School, GTE Corp.; Laura A. Frick, Annandale, St. Agnes School for Girls, Rockwell International Corp.; Ann N. Swearingen, Arlington, Washington-Lee High School, Comsat.; Earl P. Schoenborn, Dale City, Gar-Field Senior High School, Woodbridge, Mony Financial Services; Sandor L. Barna, Fairfax, Oakton High School, GTE Corp.; Kristin M. Waal, McLean, Madeira School, GTE Corp., and Fred W. Kacher, Oakton, Oakton High School, Mobil.