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Scholarships for Black History Month: Our Top Picks

Scholarships for Black History Month: Our Top Picks

Happy Black History Month! February is a time for celebrating the history and achievements of African-Americans. Since it’s also financial aid awareness month, we thought we’d do what we do best, and give you the inside scoop on scholarships looking to help black and other minority students this season. Here are our top picks.  

Vinson & Elkins Diversity Scholarships

Award: $10,000 plus an internship

Deadline: April 1st

For: Minority Texas high school seniors looking to pursue legal studies

First up is an opportunity for our future advocates. Started in 1990, the Vinson & Elkins law firm targets students of color and LGBTQ students who wish to study law but are in need of financial assistance. Not only are there 7 awards up for grabs, but the firm also offers their scholars internships and mentoring. Students must be in the top 20% of their class, score higher than 1100 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT, and write a personal statement of 500-1500 words.

Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program

Award: $5,000 per year

Deadline: March 1st

For: Minority undergrad and grad students who want to be teachers

If you’re a minority student from Illinois with a passion for education, this program is for you. MTI will sponsor minority students who want to teach in any capacity. Applicants must be enrolled in or accepted to an institution of higher learning and maintain a 2.5 GPA to keep the scholarship.

Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Award: $6,000

Deadline: March 1st

For: PhD Minority criminal justice and criminology students

This one if for our social justice warriors. Named after Ruth D. Peterson, a professor of sociology at Ohio State University – whose research focuses on ethnic inequality in crime and consequences of criminal justice policies for racial and ethnic minorities – the fellowship hopes to alleviate underrepresentation in the field by helping students of color complete their degrees. There are 3 awards up for grabs. They want to know everything: a resume, a personal statement, a statement of need, your career plans and passion for the subject, and 3 reference letters.

American Bus Association (ABA) Diversity Scholarship

Award: $5,000

Deadline: April 4th

For: Undergraduate minority students studying fields related to travel and tourism

The American Bus Association wants more minority students in the management and operation ranks of the transportation, travel, and tourism industry. If transportation gets you rolling (excuse the pun), tell the ABA how you hope to participate in the future of transport, motor coach, travel, or tourism or hospitality in a 500-word essay.

Lagrant Foundation Scholarships

Award: $3,750 for grad students; $2,500 for undergrads

Deadline: February 28th

For: Minority students looking to work in advertising, marketing and public relations

Know how to make a sell? The Lagrant Foundation is dedicated to increasing minority representation in marketing, advertising, and PR. 30 lucky undergrads and 20 lucky grads with a passion for the field will be selected as scholars in this program. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and answer 3 essay questions as a part of their application.

American Chemistry Society (ACS) Scholars Program

Award: $5,000

Deadline: March 1st

For: Minority high school senior and undergraduate chemistry nerds

If you’re suspicious of atoms because they make up everything, then you’re in the right place. The ACS wants to help minority students with renewable scholarships to ensure their success. They want to see your official transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation, and a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR).  

A. Grace Lee Mims Vocal Scholarship

Award: $10,000

Deadline: March 15th

For: African-American graduate/doctoral vocal students

Sponsored by the Cleveland foundation, this program continues the tradition of Negro spiritual singing – an art form created by enslaved Africans in America. African-American students who want to perform and/or teach the art are encouraged to apply. On top of a general application, they want to see 3 letters of recommendation, an audio tape of a recent performance, personal statement, and a budget for your educational expenses.

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships

Award: $5,000 per year

Deadline:  March 8th

For: Black high school seniors interested in tech

The employee resource group Blacks@Microsoft are looking for the next generation of black tech buffs. They’re giving out 2 awards and $1,500 to 5 runners-up on their way to college. They want to see 2 letters of recommendation, your resume, transcript, and 2 essays. If you’re interested in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, or select business programs (such as finance, business administration, or marketing) then this is not an opportunity you want to miss.

Sachs Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship

Award: $6,000 per year

Deadline: April 15th

For whom: Black high school seniors in Colorado

The Sachs foundation sponsors talented college-bound high school students in the state of Colorado. If you have a 3.0 GPA, and are in need of financial aid, this general scholarship is perfect for you.

American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship

Award: $5,000

Deadline: March 1st

For whom: Minority library and information studies graduate students

Calling all book worms who prefer novels over humans – this scholarship is for you! ALA wants to address the issue of underrepresentation in the librarian profession with their Spectrum program. This one-time award also comes with a membership to ALA and an all-expenses paid 3-day trip to the Spectrum Leadership Institute catered to Spectrum scholars.  

That’s only a taste of all the opportunities we have found for you on Scholly. If you’re looking for more, look no further. With personalized scholarship-matching, in-app tracking tools to make sure you never miss a beat, and an AI-powered writing assistant, Scholly is your best chance at debt-free education.

Happy Black History Month and happy applying!

How to Avoid Student Debt in 2019

How to Avoid Student Debt in 2019

Happy New Year from Scholly! It’s 2019 which means new goals, new scholarships, and new opportunities. With college application season all but over, scholarship season is in full swing. It’s our mission to help as many students as possible reach their potential - and that means having access to education. With each year, we strive to propel even more students towards success than the last, so here are some Scholly tips on how to maximize those scholarship applications and avoid student debt in 2019.

File your FAFSA.

Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your first step towards determining your financial aid packages from your schools of choice. The sooner you file your FAFSA, the sooner you’ll know how much assistance you’ll receive from each of your prospective schools, and the sooner you can start planning for your future. Try to finish filing this month if you haven’t already. Filing early will to give you time to take advantage of rolling scholarship opportunities that could supplement your aid.

Check out Scholly.

Log onto Scholly ASAP and check out your new matches. We consistently update our database so that users have a range of scholarships to choose from. Save scholarships to which you would like to apply. Try to save a combination of scholarships with high Scholly Scores and large awards to prioritize your applications.

Now plan your attack. 

Take note of due dates for your saved scholarships and make an application timetable for yourself. Be sure to set realistic goals to give yourself enough time for each application. Some spring scholarship applications are due sooner than others, but a bulk of them tend to be due in March, with another in April. Start early so that you’re not scrambling to apply for scholarships by the time spring break rolls around.

When in doubt, ask!

We understand that scholarship essays can be tricky. Some topics are very broad while others are rather specific, and deciphering what and what not to include can be daunting. Many scholarship programs have a ‘Past Winners’ section where you can see profiles and sometimes essays of previous winners. These sections can help you get an idea of the kind of applications the scholarship program is looking for. Scholly also has an in-app ’Resources’ section with examples of scholarship essays for some extra help.


Run your application essays through Scholly Editor! It’s our instant proofreader that scans your writing for both style and grammar mistakes so you can put your best foot forward. Content wise, ask teachers, friends, parents or anyone else in your life whose eyes you think would benefit your application to read your essays. You’d be surprised at how people can pick up on some of your strongest qualities that even you may miss. They can help you articulate those attributes for your applications and make them stronger.  

Lastly, keep going.

The scholarship application process is full of ups and downs. If you’re feeling disappointed about not having won a few scholarships to which you’ve applied, keep trying. There is always another opportunity out there and you are not going to win every scholarship you apply to, but a scholarships is always a better option than a student loan. Remember to stay positive and keep improving upon your applications. If you don’t win an award, you can always reach out to ask for feedback on your application!

2019 is already a big year for Scholly with the launch of our Student Loan Payoff Program in partnership with grownish - and that is just the beginning of exciting things to come for the Scholly community. So Happy New Year, happy applying, and all the best for 2019!

Scholly for Harlem

Scholly for Harlem

Student success starts with affording college. Scholly has partnered with Forbes to provide free access to our platform for Harlem public and charter high school juniors and seniors! We are providing 2,500 lifetime access registrations for students to find free money to attend college.

Scholly for Harlem, held earlier this week, brought together community leaders, policymakers, educators, and change agents from around the city of New York. This marked the start of Scholly’s intentional efforts to strengthen the pipeline to and through college for students in Harlem.

“Scholly’s core value is to make quality higher education affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Christopher Gray, Founder and CEO of Scholly. “We are delighted to collaborate with Forbes to create opportunities for young people in Harlem and give them the resources needed to achieve their educational goals.”

The event included a Q&A with Civil Rights activist DeRay McKesson and our very own brand ambassador, actor, and Civil Rights proponent Jesse Williams. Their conversation centered around equity and access, and how investments like Scholly can help students reimagine the possibilities for their future.  We also hosted a fireside chat with Elizabeth Strozier, the Executive Director of Programming for Forbes Live, and Gary Johnson, the Director of Strategy & Operations at the NYC Mayor’s Technology Office. Johnson, a Harlem native spoke to his commitment to equip students with educational tools that will change the trajectory of their lives. His excitement to team up with Scholly was evident. Scholly for Harlem highlighted the importance of democratizing access to education and the role technology can play in facilitating that access.

Why are we helping Harlem students?

Helping students continue their education and reach their fullest potential is exactly what Scholly is about. Home of the Harlem Renaissance, Harlem has been a major hub for African-American culture, business, and social change for the past century. As a business committed to diversity and inclusion, providing access to our platform that includes the scholarship search and Scholly Editor to Harlem students furthers our mission of providing opportunity for all.

Want to get involved?

Are you a Harlem student, teacher, or school administrator eager to get started and learn more about Scholly for Harlem? Or are you an organization or individual wanting to replicate the Scholly for Harlem model in another city? Contact Azani Pinkney at for more information. Harlem students, happy scholarship searching and welcome to the Scholly family!

The Top 5 Myths About Scholarships

The Top 5 Myths About Scholarships

Many people believe that they can’t or won’t win scholarships for certain reasons that really aren’t true. We want you to win as much money as possible for college so here’s our list of the top 5 myths about scholarships to keep you encouraged throughout the process:

1) “I don’t have enough time to search for and apply to scholarships.”

Not to toot our own horn but that’s why we’re here! Scholly was made for you so you don’t have to spend all of that time searching for scholarships. Make sure you keep a list of your activities and update them in the Miscellaneous category on your profile to get matched with more targeted scholarships that are suited for you.

2) “There are too many people I’m competing against to win this scholarship.”

There are so many scholarships out there. And by so many, we mean SO many. Over $100 million in scholarship awards go unclaimed each year. These range from essays that ask you to write your favorite thing about milk to telling about a time where you overcame a struggle. The chances are that there are scholarships out there that you will win but you just need to apply!

3) “I can’t get scholarships with my GPA”

Yes you can. Plain and simple - there are scholarships out there that don’t have any GPA requirements. While you should work to improve your GPA, it does not define your scholarship opportunities so apply and apply often.

4) “My race or family’s income is going to prevent me from getting scholarships.”

It’s true that many scholarships are suited for specific income levels or racial backgrounds. However, those are not the only opportunities that exist. Scholarships cater to people based on a variety of criteria where race and income don’t matter. These merit based scholarships offer great ways to help afford your education.

5) “I’m too [insert reason here] for scholarships.”

I’m too old, young, boring.... Don’t let your thoughts discourage you from applying to scholarships because the truth is that scholarships abound in a variety of categories. You should have to be intentional about finding what opportunities match you the best. And we’re here to help you do exactly that.


Announcing our $10,000 scholarship!

Announcing our $10,000 scholarship!

Announcing our $10,000 scholarship!

We're excited to announce that for the first time, Scholly is offering our own scholarship! We call it the JUMPSTART scholarship because, sometimes, all great minds need is a bit of a spark to accomplish great things. Scholly's vision is to help all students reach their potential, and partnering with CommonBond allows us to put our money here our mouth is. This $10,000 scholarship is for students throughout the United States and only takes like a minute to apply.  

Good luck! And we'll announce the winner on April 25th.

OneMain + Scholly: Announcing the College Affordability Series!

OneMain + Scholly: Announcing the College Affordability Series!

It is with great excitement that we announce our content partnership with OneMain. Together, we aim to inform and educate both of our communities about critical topics around college affordability, and suggest simple, effective ways to manage the financial commitment of college.

Scholly is all about matching students with scholarships to help them afford the college of their dreams, but we are aware that scholarships are only one part of a financial story. Since 1912 OneMain has provided personalized loan solutions to meet the needs of their customers. We believe that by partnering with great organizations like OneMain, we can provide college affordability information and financial education to a broader audience.

In this series, you can look forward to learning about college affordability/financial education topics such as: 

  • College costs
  • Financial benefits of a scholarship
  • Where scholarship money comes from
  • How to find and win scholarships
  • Stories and advice from scholarship winners
  • Tools that may help you reach your financial goals
  • Money saving tips
  • and more! 

Scholly is teaming up with OneMain to give students info on financial resources necessary to attend their dream school and beyond. We’re happy to be working together to make students, not money, first. We have always believed in the power of education, and getting informed about this crucial step in life is critical.
— Christopher Gray, Scholly's Founder & CEO
Attending college is an important step towards financial security, and it’s a step many of our customers are unable to take due to a lack of resources or understanding of just what support may be available to help them. OneMain is committed to helping our customers build their credit and increase their financial awareness and this partnership with Scholly is a natural extension of our goal to make our customers’ lives better.
— Sheldon Caplis, OneMain's Director of Community Engagement

So stay tuned for more in the College Affordability Series. We hope you’ll find it valuable and urge you to share it with your peers!