TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Top Hat, provider of the leading cloud-based teaching platform for higher education, today announced its inaugural scholarship program. The Top Hat Scholarship recognizes the positive impact of innovative teaching methods in higher education, by offering five scholarships to exceptional students, for a total prize value equivalent to $100,000 USD per year. Applications for the Fall 2019 scholarships are being accepted from now through to February 28, 2019, and winners will be announced in April, 2019.

Furthering Top Hat’s commitment to create a more affordable and effective higher education experience, the Scholarship invites professors who have used the Top Hat platform in the past 24 months, to nominate students who have exhibited outstanding leadership and growth throughout the semester. Students will complete their applications by responding to three essay questions about their growth during their educational career and their plans for the future. From there, a longlist of 25 finalists will be chosen by an Internal Review Board comprising Top Hat employees and representatives from the International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS). Five winners will be selected by an External Review Board composed of leading experts in higher education and education technology. Board members include David Harris (editor in chief, OpenStax); Crystal Rose (executive director, Academic Affairs, Ozy Media); and Lisa Petrides (founder and CEO, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education). There will be one first place, one second place, and three third place winners, who will receive their prize amounts in USD or equivalent in their local currency.

“Here at Top Hat, our mission is to make higher education more effective, affordable, and engaging, and to support educators to help students succeed,” said Mike Silagadze, co-founder and CEO, Top Hat. “With the Top Hat Scholarship, we aim to celebrate the innovative teaching and active learning methods that educators are introducing into their courses. At the same time, we’re providing a way for professors to champion their most engaged and dedicated students who enhance the learning environment and bring exceptional value into the classroom.”

“I applaud Top Hat’s Scholarship program,” said David Harris, editor in chief, OpenStax. “It not only promotes access to a generous grant but also requires students to think about how education impacts their future, and that’s priceless.

“OZY EDU is proud to support the Top Hat Scholarship,” said Crystal Rose, executive director, Academic Affairs, Ozy Media. “It embodies an intersection of factors that we find essential: cutting-edge teaching, identifying top talent, and transforming lives with tangible funds for higher education.”

“The Top Hat Scholarship has the potential to change the lives of some outstanding students,” said Lisa Petrides, founder and CEO, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME). “It will allow them to get back to focusing on their educational success, without having to worry about how they’re going to pay tuition or buy course materials.”

Scholarship Details


The Top Hat Scholarship will run once per year in advance of the Fall school semester. For the Fall 2019 semester, applications will be accepted from September 13, 2018 to February 28, 2019. For subsequent years, check back to the website for application deadlines.

Prize amounts (in USD)
1st place: $50,000
2nd place: $20,000
3rd place: Three prizes of $10,000 each


  • Educators will nominate students that fit the following criteria:
  • Enrolled full-time within their institution (both online and on campus) in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.
  • Have plans to return to school the following year
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Have no relation to the professor nominating them


  • 1. Educators will nominate students that meet eligibility criteria by submitting responses to two short-answer questions on the Scholarship website.
  • 2. Students will be notified of their nominations and submit responses to two different short-answer questions.
  • 3. Each complete application will be graded by the Internal Review Board, which will longlist 25 finalists.
  • 4. The External Review Board will select the top five applications.

Judging Criteria
Scholarships will be awarded to students that:

  • Have demonstrated leadership in the classroom
  • Have demonstrated growth and improvement within the nominating educator’s course
  • Are student leaders that help to inspire fellow classmates and propagate in-depth discussions
  • Are interested in continued improvement within the course subject matter
  • Please visit the Top Hat Scholarship page for complete information on the program and application process.

About Top Hat

Top Hat’s interactive, cloud-based teaching platform enables professors to engage students inside and outside the classroom with compelling content, tools and activities. Millions of students at 750 leading North American colleges and universities use the Top Hat teaching platform. To learn more, visit