Students will now have a chance to pursue higher education without the burden of crippling debt, and it’s all made possible thanks to a new partnership between award-winning mobile application Scholly and American actor Jesse Williams.

According to a press release provided to AfroTech, the initiative — Pay It Off Fund — will allow four students to secure up to $25,000 each to pay off their student loan debts. 



Statement From CEO and Founder of Scholly Christopher Gray

The great news is a continuation of Gray’s efforts which stemmed from his experience securing $1.3 million in scholarships in seven months.

Gray soon recognized there was free money not being distributed simply because students did not know where to find it.

It has always been Scholly’s mission to help as many students as possible access financial freedom,” Gray wrote to AfroTech in an exclusive e-mail interview. “Since launching in 2015 and helping families across the country receive scholarship opportunities, we realized that there were still many ways to help students throughout their journey to pursue higher education and pay for it. For most people, paying for college doesn’t end when they’re awarded scholarships or when they graduate. Student loan debt follows many people into senior citizenship, possibly creating a lifetime of missed opportunities, wealth, homeownership, travel, etc. Through our various programs and partnerships, our goal is to eliminate debt to, in turn, help people create their own financial freedom.”

Gray continued: “Partnering with advocates like Jesse Williams, and offering an opportunity to pay off some of that student loan debt is absolutely essential and critical in advancing the work that we do.” 

Statement From Jesse Williams

For Jesse Williams, the partnership was a natural fit due to him formerly being an educator in Philadelphia, PA, coupled with his personal experience of being a student at underfunded schools.

Williams understands the value of education and looks forward to creating an accessible pathway alongside Gray.

“My experience as a student in grossly under-resourced schools in Chicago in the 80s, my move to suburban white school districts and seeing them completely and differently resourced; my experience in a private white institution, my experience struggling day-to-day to be able to afford going to college, and my experience teaching in the hood in Philly — all of those things informed or continued to enliven my understanding of the distressing reality of the public school system. I brought all of that to the table when I met Christopher Gray, founder of Scholly, who’s actually doing something about it,” Williams told AfroTech exclusively.

He continued: “Partnering with Scholly was a natural kind of progression going from my previous experience as a teacher, and trying to attack these issues in our community as an activist and organizer. I’m happy to be able to do it in the digital realm and utilize innovative technology in the mobile space with Scholly. I hope that the funds will free up the recipients to be able to better live their lives. I know what it’s like to be stressed week to week, thinking, ‘How am I going to pay these bills?’ … So, I hope that it can pay down some of their cost of living so they can be free to know what it’s like to live as a financially stable person.“

Here's How To Apply

Applications for the scholarship are open. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2022.

All students are welcome to apply and the amount awarded will be dependent upon their loan balance.

For those interested, click here.