When Christopher Gray was preparing to go to college, he knew that covering all of his tuition and expenses was going to be difficult. He didn’t want to find himself buried in student loan debt after graduation, as so many other college grads do. So he dedicated his time to searching for scholarships to help relieve some of that financial burden.
But getting those scholarships wasn’t easy. Gray didn’t have Internet access at his home. So he used the local library, resources at his school and even his cell phone to find and vet different scholarship opportunities.
Although his scholarship search was ultimately successful — he was awarded about $1.3 million in total scholarships – it was a lengthy and tiresome process. He knew that he wasn’t the only student to have issues finding relevant scholarships to help pay for school. So he created Scholly to change the whole process and help others find scholarship opportunities.
Find Scholarship Opportunities
Gray explained in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “The idea is that Scholly turns those months of searching for scholarships into about two minutes. It decreases the amount of time you need to make sure you actually get what you qualify for.”
To use the service, students can sign up by paying a $2.99 registration fee. Then there’s a registration form that collects information from students to help determine which scholarships are most likely to be relevant. For example, the form collects information like the student’s GPA, demographic information, and even some miscellaneous factors that might qualify them for lesser known scholarships. For example, Gray mentioned that there are sometimes opportunities for students who are left-handed or vegetarian.
After Scholly has collected all of the relevant information, it takes a couple of minutes to develop a list of scholarship opportunities that match with the student’s responses and qualifications. Gray says that it uses a search function to aggregate the information. However, it doesn’t just search the Web for anything that matches a set of keywords. Scholly actually vets scholarship opportunities first before including them in its list of potential search results for users.
So it’s a multi-step process. Scholly first scours the Web for any potential scholarship opportunities. These can come from other scholarship sites, schools, independent organizations or pretty much anywhere else on the Web. But then the “Scholly Squad” goes through those opportunities to determine if they’re legitimate and what students they would potentially apply to. Then when students sign up and input their information, Scholly searches within that collection of vetted scholarship opportunities to find the most relevant results.
In addition, students can continue to use their Scholly accounts throughout high school, college and even graduate school. So you don’t just input your information to get a one-time list of search results. You can save the opportunities that you’re interested in and even sign up for alerts when scholarship deadlines are approaching or if there are any new scholarships that you qualify for.
Scholly also offers the opportunity for schools, organizations and individuals to pay for the service on behalf of students. The Give:Scholly program offers everyone the opportunity to help students access Scholly for free. In addition, Scholly has partnered with CommonBond to give students who have had to utilize loans the opportunity to refinance those loans to get the best rates possible.
The issue of student loan debt is certainly not a new problem. But entrepreneurial students like Gray are working to alleviate that burden as much as possible for their peers and for the next generation by creating platforms like Scholly to find scholarship opportunities.