Student-Designed App Simplifies Scholarship Search
June 21, 2013
By Niki Gianakaris
Labeled the “Million Dollar Scholar” Christopher Gray, a business student at Drexel University, secured lots of scholarships. Out of 72 scholarships he applied for, Gray received 34 that total $1.3 million. But, it wasn’t an easy process. It took months of going through database after database to find scholarships he was eligible to apply for and while he was successful, most students aren’t as lucky.
“The truth is, most students are just not willing to put in all the time it takes to find scholarships so they turn to loans,” Gray said.
“Students who are already in college don’t even know they can still apply for scholarships. There is not a lot of awareness about what’s available. I knew that there should be a faster and easier way to search for and find scholarships.”
Gray has found a way to make the hunt for scholarship money a much smoother process for high school and college students looking to fund their education. He teamed up with Nick Pirollo, a Drexel student majoring in computer science, and Bryson Alef, a student at Amherst College, and together they created the Scholly app.
The app is available for 99 cents through the App Store and Google Play. Gray and his team decided to keep the price low because their intent is to provide a public service rather than make a profit. Once downloaded, applicants can immediately start their search. It only takes a couple of minutes for them to input their search parameters and get matched with scholarships based on their eligibility.
“All scholarships are handpicked to make sure they are legitimate and the search is curated,” Gray said. “The months it takes students to look for scholarships have been turned to minutes.”
The database that Gray and Pirollo have developed for Scholly allows them to keep the listing of scholarships up-to-date. Pirollo, who specializes in app development, wrote scripts that will notify them of potential issues with the scholarships, including expirations and inaccuracies. But the team still siphons through the list on a monthly basis to make sure that it is 100-percent accurate. Eventually the team’s goal is to produce a dynamic notification system that can manage the database along with a group of people working together to curate the list.
Read more here at the Drexel News Blog.