High Schooler Gives Up Her College Fund To Pay The Family’s Rent

Family, as many will tell you, is one of the most important things in the world. I, and many others, have story after story of family members stepping in to help in times of need. They sacrifice time, energy, and even finances, which is a difficult decision to make but often worth it in the end.

As financial situations grow direr for millions of Americans impacted by the pandemic, the bond of family has become even more important and necessary.

For high school senior Alondra Carmona of Houston, Texas, the call to stand up for family meant sacrificing a dream she’d had for years. Like many families that live within tight margins, Carmona’s was left without a source of income when her single mother, Martha Zepeda, lost her job in November and struggled to find another.


Carmona, who has a passion for neuroscience and Latin American history and culture, knew that it was up to her, at the age of 18, to care for her family. So, she gave up her college fund and savings to keep them afloat. This meant more than giving up money — it meant giving up her dream of attending the prestigious Barnard University in New York, which had offered her a generous grant of $60,000 — enough to cover tuition, but short of the $73,171 needed for room, board, and fees. “I looked into the program, the school, the campus, everything. I just fell in love with that school,” Carmona told CNN.

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The family was behind on rent and had even been locked out of their apartment building — in violation of the federal government’s temporary halt to evictions. “[The apartment complex] told her that they just needed $500 and then she was able to get back into our apartment,” Carmona explained to the outlet. “I didn’t know [about the halt on evictions] and I wish someone had told me so that I could have told my mom,” she added.


Recognizing the inherent injustice of the situation, and hoping for a miracle, Alondra Carmona turned to GoFundMe, the fundraising website that has in recent years become the last hope of those facing exorbitant medical, school, and rent bills. She set a goal of $75,000 — enough for a year at Barnard.

As of February 26th, her original goal has been far surpassed, and thousands of generous donors from all over the world have given her $172,000! “I can’t even describe how grateful I am. I have no words,” Carmona wrote in an GoFundMe update: “You have all been a part of my dream and will make it possible.”


The difficult sacrifice that Carmona made has been repaid several times over thanks to the kindness of strangers, showing not only the power of family but of community. Carmona has a bright future ahead at Barnard, who say they are “honored and excited to welcome Alondra next year.” Watch an interview Carmona gave to ABC News here!

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