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Scholarship search service helps Howard students affected by financial aid scandal

Students touring Howard University stop outside the administration building Friday, March 30, 2018, where protesters were holding a sit-in. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON—Scholarship search service Scholly is starting a fund specifically for Howard University students affected by the misappropriation of financial aid funds that spanned between 2007 and 2016.

The students staged a sit-in at the school’s administration building, which is entering its fifth day on Monday, after the scandal broke.

Learning about this issue “just hit home for us as a company that helps people pay for college,” Scholly founder Chris Gray said.

The Howard Fund is separate from the company’s scholarship matching service, and is a one-time initiative.

“We’re going to award up to $10,000 to the students,” Gray said.

“The first round, we’re collecting information about students who were affected, (and) then we’re going to follow up to verify the situation,” he said.

Scholly wants “to give preference to people who literally got letters from some of the people that got fired” as a result of the investigation. They plan to give preference to those who received letters “that the aid was not available … people who were promised aid then they didn’t get it.”

Application vetting will include connecting with the University’s financial aid office to ensure that those who are applying to receive money from Scholly’s Howard Fund were adversely affected by the misappropriation of university aid money. Scholly also wants to make sure that any funds disbursed are applied to the accounts of the students they intend to help.

“Ultimately, (Scholly) is a scholarship service … so we don’t want our money being, you know, misplaced, as well,” Gray said. “We’re going to have to ultimately work with the school in a way that makes sense for us.”

There’s no posted deadline to apply for the funding, but Scholly is first looking to help affected graduating seniors clear outstanding balances before this year’s spring commencement.

They’re also open to helping former Howard University students who had to drop out of the university as a direct result of this scandal. Those applicants must be willing to return to Howard to complete their studies.

All applicants must have a Howard University email address.

Gray also said Scholly is paying for the bulk of the scholarships, but they plan to work with other organizations who are interested in helping affected students.

The company is also accepting contributions to the Howard Fund. For more information or to ask questions, email HowardFund@myscholly.com.


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