Horatio Alger Association Restructures College Scholarship Programs to Award High School Juniors in Support of Early Intervention

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2021

McKenna Young
[email protected]
(484) 385-2913

Horatio Alger Association Restructures College Scholarship Programs to Award High School Juniors in Support of Early Intervention

Reaching students earlier in the process aims to combat rising barriers to postsecondary education

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 17, 2021)  — Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced it will begin awarding its annual college scholarships to high school juniors, as opposed to high school seniors, in order to guide them through the college decision-making process and provide them with access to Association resources earlier in their educational journeys.

The Horatio Alger Association was established in 1947 to dispel the mounting belief among young people that the American Dream was no longer attainable. Since the establishment of its scholarship programs in 1984, the Association has become the largest privately funded, need-based scholarship provider in the United States and Canada. More than $20 million in scholarships is awarded each year and the organization anticipates awarding a total of $235 million to more than 35,000 deserving students by its 75th anniversary in 2022. These annual scholarships recognize outstanding students, who, in the face of great personal adversity, remain committed to obtaining a college degree.

“Recent data has revealed that undergraduate enrollment is down 3.2 percent since the fall of 2020, which is on top of a 3.5 percent drop from 2019,” said James F. Dicke II, chairman of the Horatio Alger Association and 2015 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “This decline is alarming, but not entirely surprising given the excessive increase in tuition and room and board costs. It only further highlights the need for more financial support. By awarding scholarships to high school juniors who are more likely to just be beginning the college application process, we can better educate them about the available options and assist them in making the right decision for their long-term goals, while also minimizing student debt.”

By reaching students a year earlier, Scholars will participate in the Association’s College Success Program, an offering that provides college application and selection support, financial aid package review and financial literacy lessons, productivity and time management courses and more. Recipients will also have access to mental and physical health resources, emergency funding for housing or food insecurity emergencies and networking opportunities with Horatio Alger Members and Alumni Scholars with similar life experiences.

“For various reasons – many of which have been accelerated by the pandemic – an increasing number of students are deciding not to go to college,” said Rock Jones, Ph.D., president of Ohio Wesleyan University. “I believe deeply in higher education as a critical catalyst in moving our nation forward and commend the Association for identifying a tangible way to help young people make informed decisions about their academic futures. This is a model and an approach that I hope other organizations will learn from and adopt.”

Terrence Giroux, executive director of the Horatio Alger Association, added, “There are studies dating back to the 1990s that show at-risk students are less likely than their peers to enroll in any postsecondary education due to numerous factors. It is our hope that providing need-based scholarships and access to other resources ahead of a student’s final year of high school will open their eyes to new opportunities, and that this new early intervention program will set them up for long-term personal and professional success. I remain grateful to our Association leadership and Members who advocated for this innovative change and continuously seek new ways to support our Scholars.”

The scholarship change is effective immediately with the first class of juniors to be awarded in 2022. Eligible students can apply beginning December 1, 2021, through March 15, 2022. To learn more about the requirements and apply, visit https://scholars.horatioalger.org/.

About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2020, the Association awarded more than $21 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to 2,500 students across the United States and Canada, and provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $235 million in undergraduate, graduate, military veteran and career and technical education scholarships to more than 35,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit  www.horatioalger.org.