Horatio Alger Research Iniatives

Over three decades, the Horatio Alger Association has undertaken a number of research initiatives. Apart from achieving new understanding in support of its educational mission, the data collected through these research projects also positions the Association as a credible resource for information on the topic of resiliency and educational challenges confronting youth. The Association has recently engaged in four separate research initiatives listed below.

Lifestyle Support for Academic Success Program

The Lifestyle Support for Academic Success program identified and assisted Horatio Alger Association Scholars who demonstrate early signs of academic inefficiencies in their transition to college. The program aimed to increase retention and graduation rates among State and National Scholars and to ensure that every Scholar has the support necessary to overcome challenges. Through this new program, the Association learned how to address Scholars’ diverse challenges before they result in negative academic or personal outcomes.

Portraits of Contrast

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans worked in collaboration with NORC at the University of Chicago to produce the 2012­–2013 Portraits of Contrast report that presents the findings that shed light on the perceptions, feelings, and experiences of National Scholars relative to their counterparts nationwide for the benefit of our young people and our nation’s future.

As the first Portraits of Contrast report in a decade, the 2012–2013 edition accomplishes at least two notable things. First, by examining how young people perceive present day conditions related to the economy, education, politics, family and society, the report gives voice to the perspectives and concerns of today’s young people. Second, the report illustrates the distinctive qualities of the 2012 class of Horatio Alger Association National Scholars when compared to a national sample of young people from a representative cross-section of demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

State of Our Nation’s Youth Report


Conducted since 1997, this comprehensive nationwide study examines the perceptions and aspirations of 1,500 of today’s young people ages 14 to 23 in order to gain insights to the nation’s future. The report explores young Americans’ views on education, life goals, family, relationships, the economy, news, media, technology, politics, spirituality, and the transition from high school into college and careers.

For the first time in the survey’s history, the Association welcomed NORC at the University of Chicago to provide analysis and write the report in collaboration with Hart Research Associates. The 2012 State of Our Nation’s Youth report is the 11th in the series conducted by the Horatio Alger Association and the seventh survey completed in coordination with Hart Research Associates. 

Horatio Alger Association Success Factors Study

This Association study in collaboration with NORC at the University of Chicago is identifying factors of resilient success among Horatio Alger Scholars and similar populations of their peers.

The Success Study analyzes empirical data collected from the Association and other nationally validated sources to examine the premise that particular individual attributes, support structures, and educational experiences combine uniquely in a person’s life to empower that person with an increased ability to overcome adversity and to achieve educational and life success.  The main question is the existence of such factors and the relative impact of these factors in determining success.  To address this question, analyses are proceeding to provide new information on the broad social issues that the Horatio Alger Association seeks to address in its educational programs.