Horatio Alger National Scholarship

The Horatio Alger National Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and competitive college scholarship programs in the United States. Offering full tuition assistance for students in financial need, this scholarship opens doors to higher education that may otherwise be closed.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide an in-depth look at the Horatio Alger National Scholarship, including its history, eligibility requirements, application process, selection criteria, benefits and more. Whether you are considering applying or just want to learn about this incredible opportunity, read on for all the key details.

Overview of the Horatio Alger National Scholarship

  • Provider: Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
  • Amount: Up to $25,000 for needy students
  • Application Deadline: October 25th
  • Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors with 2.0+ GPAs and financial need
  • Renewable: Can be renewed for up to 8 semesters

The Horatio Alger National Scholarship is an annual scholarship program established in 1984. It is named after the famous author Horatio Alger, best known for his rags-to-riches novels depicting young heroes overcoming poverty through hard work.

The scholarship aims to similarly assist high-achieving students facing economic adversities, providing critical financial support needed to achieve their dreams of attaining college degrees. Up to 106 scholarships are awarded each year.

Why Apply for the Horatio Alger National Scholarship?

There are many great reasons high school students should consider applying for the Horatio Alger National Scholarship:

Significant Financial Assistance

  • Covers up to $25,000 in tuition assistance over 4 years
  • Helps lessen the student loan burden
  • Makes college more affordable and accessible

Prestige and Recognition

  • Considered one of the top national college scholarships
  • Shows academic excellence despite financial challenges
  • Provides access to the Scholars network

Multi-Year Support

  • Scholarship is renewable annually for up to 8 semesters
  • Enables degree completion without reapplying yearly

Personalized Mentoring

  • Matching with Horatio Alger Member as mentor
  • Gain wisdom and guidance from prominent leaders

Overall, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship provides invaluable support, both financial and personal, for deserving students seeking to fulfill their college dreams.

Eligibility Requirements

Meeting the Horatio Alger National Scholarship eligibility requirements is key. Applicants must demonstrate both financial need and academic achievements. The main criteria include:


  • Must be a U.S. citizen

Grade Point Average

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA

College Enrollment

  • Planning to enroll in college fall following graduation

Income Threshold

  • Total household income under $55,000


  • Display commitment to community service

Competitive applicants will also have leadership experience, excel academically with rigorous coursework, and participate in meaningful extracurricular activities.

The Application Process and Timeline

Horatio Alger National Scholarship

The Horatio Alger National Scholarship application process takes place during senior year on the following timeline:

August – September

  • Application opens in August at application.horatioalger.org
  • Students create an account and begin application

September – October

  • Applicants complete all essay questions and the FAFSA
  • Counselors submit paperwork confirming eligibility
  • Application deadline is October 25th

November – December

  • Finalist interviews conducted
  • National Scholars are notified in December

April – May

  • Scholars submit enrollment verification
  • First installment payment made to college by June

Meeting all Horatio Alger application deadlines and requirements is crucial. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Key Sections of the Application

The Horatio Alger application consists of the following main components:

Student Information

  • Personal details, demographics, high school, intended college


  • Completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Essay Questions

Counselor Form

  • Verifies eligibility and provides transcript

Letters of Recommendation

  • From instructor, community member, other

The essay questions and recommendations enable applicants to highlight their achievements, leadership, service and strengths. These components are critical for selection.

How Applicants Are Selected

The Horatio Alger National Scholarship receives thousands of applicants annually. Selection is based on:

Academic Record

  • Strong grades in college prep coursework
  • Improvement over time

Test Scores

  • Satisfactory PSAT, SAT or ACT results

Financial Need

  • Total family income under $55,000
  • High FAFSA expected contribution

Essays and Recommendations

  • Glowing reviews from counselors and others
  • Compelling, well-written essays


  • Overcoming adversity and challenges
  • Drive to serve community and lead

Approximately 500 finalists are selected to interview. The National Scholarship Committee then chooses the 106 National Scholars.

Benefits of Being Selected

Students chosen to receive the Horatio Alger National Scholarship gain tremendous benefits, including:

Tuition Assistance

  • Up to $25,000 to cover tuition, room and board, books over 4 years


  • Paired with Member of Horatio Alger Association
  • Ongoing support, wisdom and networking

Leadership Development

  • All-expense paid National Scholars Conference
  • Access to internship opportunities


  • Lifetime Member of the Horatio Alger Association
  • Recognition for resilience and service

Renewable Support

  • Scholarship can be renewed for up to 8 terms
  • Enables completing bachelor’s degree

The chance to be part of this prestigious scholarship program is truly life-changing for recipients.

Tips for Submitting a Winning Application

Follow these tips when applying for the Horatio Alger National Scholarship to make your application stand out:

  • Start early and give yourself ample time
  • Follow all instructions closely
  • Choose recommenders who know you well
  • Write original, compelling essays and short answers
  • Have others proofread your full application
  • Highlight leadership experience and community impact
  • Emphasize how scholarship will help you attain future goals
  • Complete the FAFSA accurately and on time
  • Submit supporting documents according to requirements

Putting your best foot forward with a polished, thoughtful application is key to being selected.

Alumni Voices

Hearing from past scholarship recipients provides helpful insights. Here are testimonials from three Horatio Alger National Scholars:

“This scholarship lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. I could focus on studies without constant money stress. The mentorship also gave me confidence and support in achieving my dreams.” – Marissa S., Rutgers University Graduate

“Being named a National Scholar opened up so many doors for me. I gained a network of peers facing similar challenges. The community you join is incredible.” – Rafael T., University of Michigan Graduate

“As a first-generation college student, I never thought I could attend a top school. The Horatio Alger Scholarship made attending NYU possible. It changed the trajectory of my life.” – Devika P., NYU Graduate

These alumni stories demonstrate the incredible power of this transformative scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the Horatio Alger National Scholarship:

What majors or programs qualify for the scholarship?

Scholars can use the award towards any accredited 4-year undergraduate program. All majors qualify.

Does the scholarship apply to graduate school?

No, the scholarship is only for undergraduate bachelor’s degree programs.

Is the scholarship merit or need based?

The scholarship considers both merit through achievements and grades as well as financial need. Both are integral.

Can international or undocumented students apply?

Unfortunately no, the scholarship is only open to U.S. citizens planning to study in the United States.

Can the scholarship be used at any accredited college?

Yes, recipients can use the award at any accredited non-profit 4-year college in the U.S.

How are scholarship funds distributed?

Funds are sent directly to the college on the scholar’s behalf before the terms begin.

We hope this detailed overview helps you better understand the prestigious Horatio Alger National Scholarship. Please reach out with any other questions!

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