Ever since he graduated high school, Gustavo Ospina has been hustling. After working and completely paying his way through Union County College, the undocumented student got accepted into Columbia University. But still, a matter of about 30 miles stand in the way of his being an everyday student. On school days, Ospina travels two hours a day to and from the school’s campus and his home in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Now, he’s turning to GoFundMe, so that he can move closer to Columbia and ultimately make it easier for him to graduate from his dream school. He’s hoping to raise $2,000, and if there’s anyone who deserves a little help, it’s Gustavo.
While his hilarious, emoji-filled video might win you over, so will his work ethic. He initially started the GoFundMe page to raise money for his tuition. The Colombian-born student initially only received $11,000 in financial aid, and he still needed to make up the $60,000 difference. But as he explained, there weren’t a lot of resources available to him. “I started this GoFundMe in the hopes that my hard work will outshine the debate over my undocumented status,” he wrote. “I believe that in the sea of hatred directed towards me and my community, there will be people kind enough to understand and take action. I have worked so hard to just be accepted and it would tear me apart to lose this opportunity.”
Eight days after he started the campaign, he learned the school’s faculty nominated him for the Program for Academic Leadership and Service scholarship. The school awarded him the scholarship, which covers his tuition and medical insurance. The scholarship doesn’t cover housing. Gustavo understands if those who donated money to his GoFundMe campaign now want their money back. But the fact that he’s willing to spend hundreds of hours this semester traveling between his home and school says a lot about his determination. His hope is to move near school next year.
And even though this will be a trying semester for him, he’s just grateful. “I want to thank each and every one of you!” he said. “You guys really understood the weight I was carrying and you chose to carry it with me and that means the world to me… I’m going to make each and every one of you proud. I promise!!!!!”
Gustavo’s GoFundMe campaign is currently live. Donate here.