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scholarship search

Meet the Student Who Won $142,000 in Scholarships

Meet the Student Who Won $142,000 in Scholarships

 
I’ll never forget that feeling of being on the stage and realizing I could go to my dream school.
— Chika
 

Meet Chika Adiele, a determined college-bound Scholly user from Vegas, NV who won $142,000 in scholarships. Scholly was founded on the ideal of providing an opportunity for all. We stay motivated because of success stories like Chika's. This is how she got that bread: 

Since I was little, I was always told to never worry about paying for college. Then one day during the summer before my senior year, my mom told me that I would have to pay tuition by myself because our financial situation. My dad, the financial breadwinner, had lost everything, and my single mom needed money for other expenses. I was shocked and devastated, but I'm not one to give up easily so I started exploring some options. That’s when I found my solution: scholarships.

In the beginning, the scholarship process was incredibly intimidating and overwhelming. Many websites were terribly organized and barely had any scholarships for me. Then I came across Scholly.

Chika-2-edit.jpg

The website was super user-friendly, matched me with amazing scholarships, and even told me which scholarships best suited me with the Scholly score. I treated applying to scholarships like a part-time job. It was not easy. I went to a dual credit high school which practically made me a full-time college student. On top of my classes, I was the student council president, conducting undergraduate research, doing theater, and volunteering among other things. I’d apply during any spare time I had on the app: rehearsal, between classes, while I was eating, or even during my workouts. The Scholly deadline tracker to kept me on track with applications amidst my crazy schedule.

Over time, applying became easier. I started reusing the same essays and the Scholly blog tips had great advice. What used to take me 2 hours started taking 30-45 minutes. It actually started becoming fun and was a major confidence booster. With the help of Scholly, I applied to over 100 scholarships during my senior year. To top it off, I even got accepted into my dream school: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I still remember the very first major scholarship I won. It was the end of April, and it was from the Rogers Foundation. At this point, the college decision day was a little over a week away. I still didn’t have the funds to go to UNC-Chapel Hill, but I kept a positive attitude. Next thing I knew, I won the grand scholarship of $100,000. I’ll never forget that feeling of being on the stage and realizing I could go to my dream school. My mom was screaming and I teared I was so happy. It got even better. During the next ten days, I won over $40,000 more in outside scholarships. Not only was I able to afford college but could now go practically for free.

I plan on majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish so that I can go to medical school and become a doctor. With the help of scholarships and Scholly, I’m one step closer to my dream.

Congratulations, Chika! The Scholly team is proud of you. 

Have your own Scholly Story to share? Let us know! Still need to make your dreams come true? Join Scholly today! 

How to keep your scholarship money!

How to keep your scholarship money!

Congratulations to all Scholly winners, and any scholarship winners in general! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of your hard work paying off and having some of that financial strain eased. However, as a scholarship winner there are some things you REALLY need to know. 

Money from scholarships, grants, and fellowships can count as income, which means these funds can be taxable. And if they are taxable, you need to tell Uncle Sam. Keep reading for a 101 on taxes and scholarships. 

A scholarship/grant/fellowship is tax free if:

  • You are a full-time or part-time student working towards a degree at a primary, secondary, or accredited post-secondary institution

  • The award goes toward tuition and fees to enroll or attend an educational institution

  • The award goes toward fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for your courses

  • Your award will be tax free only if you use it to cover expenses just summarized

A scholarship is taxed if it is used to cover:

  • room and board

  • travel

  • research

  • clerical help

  • fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are not required for the course or attendance

If your scholarship/grant/fellowship goes towards both tuition and room and board, the amount that covers tuition is tax-free and the amount that covers room and board is taxable. Making this adjustment will require you to adjust other parts of your tax return as well.

Say you are filing a deduction for educational expenses, you must subtract the tax-free amount of award money from your deduction. Generally speaking, items required for your course, or course attendance, are not taxable. 

When in Doubt, Ask!

And ask asap. If you don’t know if your award is taxable, ask the scholarship program sponsoring the award. They will likely have information from the IRS about the tax status of your award money.

You can also be your own detective by going over the IRS’s benefits for education: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-benefits-for-education-information-center

Congrats to the winners and happy applying to our scholarship seekers, and if you haven't won yet remember to use Scholly to go make it happen!

Actor And Activist Jesse Williams: 'I'm Certain I'm Making A Difference'

Actor And Activist Jesse Williams: 'I'm Certain I'm Making A Difference'

Jesse Williams recently sat down with NPR and spoke about how he's making a difference. We were honored to have a substantial place in that.  It was a wide-ranging interview that focused on acting and activism. We're proud of him, and our relationship with him. Below is an excerpt where he mentions us, and how important our mission is to creating opportunity for all.

On his collaborations on mobile apps

"I'm proudest of collaboration; I'm not proudest of any independent action. You mentioned mobile apps, and to be clear, I'm a co-founder of Ebroji, a GIF-kind of cultural language keyboard, but Scholly — I have come on as a board member and a brand ambassador and partner in the company, but it was founded and created by Christopher Gray. And that is a mobile app that aggregates and connects students to millions and millions of dollars of scholarships every year.

There's over $100 million in scholarships every year that go unclaimed. People just aren't aware of them. And on the Scholly app, you plug in your information, your demographic, your height, you're left-handed, you love the clarinet, you used to wrestle, and we would pull together all the scholarships that are available to you. And we've connected students to over $70 million in real scholarships, in real money so far."

 

 

Christopher Gray on 'How to know when scholarship winners are announced.'

Christopher Gray on 'How to know when scholarship winners are announced.'

At Scholly, we get questions from our users all the time about how to know if they won a scholarship or not. Since Scholly is only a way to search for scholarships we cannot dictate when or how a scholarship reaches out to winners, but we do have some insight on how you can find out.

1) Email:
Most scholarships will email winners (and sometimes those that didn’t win) to let them know their status. These emails can sometimes be tailored toward the individual with specific details or can be general email letting you know you have one and what next steps would be in the process. If it’s a general email, make sure you check your spam folder to make sure things didn’t get sent there.

2) Phone Call:
Although you should receive an email before or after a scholarship organization calls you, be on the lookout for a call and leave room in your voicemail just in case you missed it. Some of my biggest scholarships called me first then emailed me about next steps a week later.

3) Mail:
Yes, just like the IRS, some organizations still send you paper mail. Most scholarships don’t still do this, but some smaller scholarships do. I suggest checking your mail daily to make sure they haven’t sent you something.

4) Nothing at all:
Unfortunately, sometimes scholarships never notify those who didn’t win. So sometimes if you have done all of the above things, it may be best to focus on other scholarships, apply for as many as you can, and don’t sweat the losses.

Winning a scholarship isn’t a measure of your self worth as each scholarship looks for something different. So keep using Scholly, keep applying for more, and get as much money as you can. 

Robert's scholarship meant more than just money.

Robert's scholarship meant more than just money.

Introducing Robert R, who used Scholly to find and win several scholarships... but it's what else he found using Scholly that's really moving. We're so inspired by Robert and are truly proud to be part of his story and success. Finding scholarships can not only help you afford college, but can give you some extra positivity, motivation, and boost at critical moments in your life. Check out Robert's story below and share it to help inspire others to achieve their dreams!