Rejected by homophobic parents, valedictorian gets a full ride from Georgetown and $125K from donors


UPDATE: Georgetown just awarded Seth with a full ride scholarship! “While the campaign has been ongoing, the professionals at the Office of Student Financial Services have continued to work with me to make my dream a reality,” Owen said in a statement sent to NBC News. “Due to their efforts and attention, they were able to adjust my aid package even further, my expected contribution is now $0. With these new adjustments, I will be able to attend Georgetown University this fall.” Owen said he plans to use the money his GoFundMe page has raised to cover his additional personal expenses while at Georgetown and to create a scholarship fund for other students.

Seth Owen, 18, said attending college has always been his “life goal,” one he has been working on diligently since elementary school.

“I was the nerd in fifth grade who walked around recess talking about how I wanted to be an astronaut,” Owen told NBC News. “I was always in a textbook, always in the library, always reading something.”

With a 4.16 GPA and an acceptance letter from Georgetown University, it seemed like the high school valedictorian’s dream would become a reality. But when he received his financial aid package from the prestigious school, a different reality set in: The financial aid package had been determined based on the expected contribution of his family, a family he said drove him out of his home due to his sexuality.

With Georgetown refusing to amend his financial aid package and $20,000 needed for his first year’s tuition, the Florida teen thought his situation was hopeless. But then his former biology teacher stepped in.

“Seth was just a kid that really stood out to me,” the teacher, Jane Martin, told NBC News. “He was super ambitious and was always trying to go above and beyond to make sure he could be as successful as possible.”

Martin set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Owen’s tuition, hoping to “make the impossible possible,” and she succeeded. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fundraising page raised over $50,000 — more than double its initial $20,000 goal.