Half of students not attending university this fall, survey found, would have continued their studies if they had received adequate financial assistance


A national survey commissioned by the Horatio Alger Association reveals that scholarships and grants are a decisive factor for students when determining their future educational plans

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a non-profit educational organization honoring the achievements of exceptional individuals and encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education, today released the results of a nationally representative survey. Notably, he found that among recent public high school graduates, half of those not attending university or enrolling in a vocational and technical education (CTE) program would have done so if they had received adequate financial assistance.

Infographic of the survey of the Horatio Alger Association

The independent survey was commissioned by the Horatio Alger Association, one of the largest providers of needs-based scholarships to students across United States and Canada, and powered by Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data and information platform. The survey of 1,000 recent public secondary school graduates was conducted between June 9 – 23, 2021.

Key findings from the survey, which was designed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future education plans of recent public high school graduates and to better understand their financial needs, include:

  • Despite its increasing cost, students still believe that a college degree is valuable. 86% think a four-year university degree is worth it.

  • The pandemic has increased the need for financial aid for many students. Four in ten students now need more financial aid than before the pandemic, and one in seven students who did not need it before need it now.

  • Scholarships and grants are critically important factors in the decision of students to pursue higher education. Seven in ten students who received scholarships or grants said it was a deciding factor in their ability to enroll in a college or CTE program.

  • The pandemic has likely contributed to one in four students changing their plans after graduation from high school. One in ten students who planned to enroll in college or a CTE program before the pandemic is no longer pursuing higher education this year or not at all.

“The survey clearly reveals that the financial burden of the university is a significant barrier to entry, and the pandemic has further increased the need for financial aid for many students linked to the university or the CTE,” said James F. Dicke II, president of the Horatio Alger association and winner of the 2015 Horatio Alger prize. “This new knowledge confirms that scholarships and grants are more important than ever. We hope this data will breathe new life into the ongoing discussions about access to post-secondary education in our country. The vast majority of high school graduates this year see the value in furthering their education and would graduate from post-secondary if they could afford it. “

In addition to examining students’ need for financial aid, the survey explored their access to needed information about financial aid, including guidance counselors, financial aid counselors, or online resources / printed. In addition, after a difficult year, recent high school graduates were asked what they thought of the future. The information includes:

  • Disparities in access to financial aid information resources may have had an impact on students’ decisions to pursue higher education. One in six students who were not attending university or enrolled in a CTE program at that time did not have access to financial aid information resources.

  • Recent high school graduates have shown resilience in the face of the challenges faced over the past 16 months. They are determined (80%) and optimistic (65%), but also feel anxious about the future (76%).

“If we want more students from diverse backgrounds to consider furthering their education, we need to make sure they have access to the resources to help pay for it,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director of the Horatio Alger Association. “The Association is committed to closing this gap through the scholarships and support services we provide to our scholarship recipients, including reviewing individualized financial aid programs, counseling services, 24-hour telephone support. and 7 days a week and more. “

With a sample of 1,000 people, this independent national online survey had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The sample included students aged 17 to 19 in United States with census representation for ethnicity / race, gender, geographic region and household income.

About the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple yet powerful belief that hard work, honesty, and determination can overcome any obstacle. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have achieved remarkable success despite adversity by granting them the Horatio Algiers Reward and induct them as life members. Horatio Alger members supporting promising young people with the resources and confidence to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Thanks to the generosity of its Members and friends, the Association awarded in 2020 more than $ 21 million in undergraduate and graduate scholarships as needed to 2,500 students across United States and Canada and provided collegial support and mentoring services to its fellows. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $ 235 million in undergraduate, graduate, veterans and career and technical education scholarships to over 35,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.

Carly Colombo
[email protected]



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SOURCE Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.

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