Horatio Alger, a Gilded Age Writer, reached overwhelming success as a novelist from his well known “rags to riches” story line geared toward young boys. Alger was born 1832 in Marlborough, Massachusetts and grew up a sickly son of a very poor Unitarian minister. He was home-schooled by his father for periods of his youth and then attended Gates Academy, however, his intelligence was enough to overcome his low social placement and he was accepted to Harvard where he won awards and prizes, pursued various writing genres and began his writing career with the publication of his essays and poems. While at Harvard his writing benefited from the fact that his contemporaries were the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and James Walker. After graduating, Alger tried to make a living by teaching, editing, writing a novel and as a writer for magazines. All of those avenues failed to provide an adequate income which compelled his re-enrollment at Harvard to attend the School of Divinity. Upon graduation, Alger became a preacher and a freelance writer on Cape Cod where he also published his second boy’s novel. Soon after the publication, he moved to New York City where he pursued a life of civil service looking after the poor and abandoned youth living on the streets of Manhattan and continued to write successful novels on the subject matter.
In 1984, Horatio Alger Association and Friends began offering need-based scholarships to assist students in adverse financial and social positions to follow their career dreams through higher education. Over the past 32 years, scholarships have provided about 20,000 students with $125 million dollars, graduate grants, mentor programs and other networks of support and referral services such as Financial Aid and scholarship counseling as well as an alumni association. There are 4 separate categories of Horatio Alger Scholarships: National, State, Career & Technical, and Targeted Scholarships.
This scholarship offers 106 $22,000 awards to high school or home-schooled seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.0 who are involved in extra-curricular activities and who’s family income is at or below $55,000 annually. Applicants must enroll in an accredited 4 year institution but may also enroll in a 2 year institution and transfer to a 4 year college or university. Chosen recipients will exhibit integrity and grit in overcoming adversity. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen. Deadline submission information is updated on the website annually but is generally around April 15th.
Individual State Scholarships have provided over 22,000 students with $110 million dollars since 1984. Awards range between $6,000 – $10,500, the amounts varying from state to state. In order to qualify applicants must be a high school senior with a minimum GPA of 2.0, prove a family income of $55,000 or less, be involved in extra-curricular activities and community service and intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a 4 year accredited institution but may begin at an accredited 2 year institution and transfer to a 4 year institution. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen. Application deadlines are updated annually but it is generally around April 15th.
Horatio Alger Career and Technical Scholarship
This Program offers 115 awards up to $2,500 each for high school seniors or GED recipients under the age of 30 who have demonstrated ability to persevere in the face of adversity, and who are intending to enroll in and complete a technical degree program at an accredited, non-profit, post-secondary American institution. Students must demonstrate financial need and be eligible for the PELL grant as determined by the FAFSA. There are three consecutive monthly deadlines of June 1st, July 1st and August 1st.
Degree and institution specific, these awards have the following general eligibility requirements: demonstration of financial need with an annual family salary of or less than $55,000, integrity and the ability to persevere in adversity, and demonstrate U.S. citizenship. There are 6 targeted scholarships:
Boise State University Scholarship offers 7 $10,000 awards to residents of Idaho who are currently enrolled college freshman entering their sophomore year with a minimum GPA of 2.0. The application period is January 15th – March 15th.
Honeywell Scholarships, intended for current college freshmen with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and who are pursuing a degree in a STEM field of study at an approved institution. Applications are available between January 15 – March 15.
The Mel Klein Scholarship awards $10,000 to 5 high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students must intend to pursue their studies at Colgate University, Columbia University, Stanford University, or Tulane University.
Santa Clara University – Schott Family Scholarship issues 4 $50,000 awards, an amount matched by the school, to Santa Clara University bound high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.4.
Trott Family Scholarship awards between $30,000 – $60,000 to 21 seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and who submit applications for early decision to Vanderbilt University, Ohio State University, or University of Chicago. The University of San Francisco Scholarship offers 3 awards matched by the school in the amount of $32,000 each. Applicants must be high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.0 and residents of North Carolina.
The deadlines for all scholarships are updated on their respective webpages annually. More information about Horatio Alger Scholarships can be found here.