August 3, 2023

Black-Owned Scholarship Search App Gets Acquired By Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae, a private student lending company, has acquired critical assets of the top scholarship search app, Scholly.

Founding Scholly

Scholly is a Black-founded industry-leading scholarship search app and platform created by Christopher Gray.

During his last few months at high school, Gray was set on attending college, but due to price, he had to search for scholarships for hours in the library.

He eventually received $1.3 million in scholarships from organization such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation to study finance and entrepreneurship at Drexel University. 

His experiences of searching for scholarships gave Gray the idea of a mobile app that could save prospective college students both time and money.

So, in 2013, along with fellow student Nick Pirollo and Coca-Cola scholar Bryson Alef, Gray created Scholly to streamline the scholarship search process.

“With Scholly, we created a solution that helps level the playing field and allows every student to go to college, regardless of their financial background,” said Gray.

Scholly was also featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and landed a deal with businessman Daymond John and entrepreneur Lori Greiner.

Scholly has helped millions of members secure more than $100 million in scholarships.

The acquisition

Sallie Mae has now announced it has acquired several key assets of the Scholly app.

It will also acquire Scholly’s scholarship administration technology and the Scholly Offers platform that matches users with strategic partners to help them earn cash back.

The lending company is making Scholly free and accessible for all students, families and other users whilst providing access to search and apply for millions of dollars in scholarships.

“Sallie Mae shares the same goals, and by making access to Scholly free, together we are further investing in higher education access and affordability for students and families from all backgrounds,” Gray said.

“Acquiring Scholly’s key assets is aligned with our mission to power confidence in students and families and further solidifies Sallie Mae as an education solutions company,” said Jon Witter, CEO of Sallie Mae.

Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed as the purchase price is not material to the company.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.