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Alondra Carmona will now be able to attend Barnard College, her dream school

By Rachel DeSantis
February 11, 2021 11:28 AM
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Alondra Carmona
Alondra Carmona
| Credit: Gofundme

A high school senior whose dreams of attending Barnard College were recently thrown in flux amid financial struggles at home can now pursue her academic path without worry after thousands of strangers chipped in to fundraise for her.

Alondra Carmona of Houston recently shared her heartbreaking story on GoFundMe, and explained that even though she'd been accepted to Barnard in December, her mother had been out of work for months and was struggling to pay rent.

Alondra's mom Martha broke her ankle in February 2020, putting her out of work, and when the coronavirus pandemic hit shortly after, it only added to their financial struggles.

Alondra wrote that she only learned last week that her single mom hadn't been working for the past three months, and must pay two months of rent or risk eviction in March.

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Thanks to a research internship at Rice University and a job at Chipotle, Alondra had nearly $2,000 in the bank, which she hoped to put toward tuition at Barnard, she told ABC affiliate KHOU. But when she learned her mom's rent payments were $2,000, she knew what she had to do.

"I knew I wanted to help her. I really didn't think twice about it," she told the outlet. "I told her, 'I'm going to give you my savings and make a GoFundMe page to see if I can get enough to replace the money in my savings.'"

Barnard reportedly gave Alondra $60,000 a year in aid, but the price tag was still too high, as a year at the New York City women's liberal arts school is a little more than $76,000 when all is said and done.

Just one week after sharing her story on GoFundMe, the page took off, and thanks to the generosity of strangers, Alondra has raised more than $145,000.

The money will put the Yes Prep East End senior on her way to achieving her ultimate goal of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon, and will also help get Martha back on her feet.

"I love my mom so much. She really has done so much for us just coming from El Salvador to give us a better chance at a good education," Alondra told KHOU. "I'm so grateful to her."

PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to provide avenues for our readers to pay it forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about Causes — hubs that bring charities, individuals, donors and corporate partners together to help people in need — visit GoFundMe.