AUSTIN (KXAN) — Wide-eyed and at the behest of “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, three University of Texas at Austin students popped out of their seats in the front row and walked up on the stage at Bass Concert Hall during the show’s taping.
To cheers from 3,000 of their fellow students, Texans Alma Zamora, Elizabeth Yun and Fitzgerald Alan joined Fallon as he introduced them as some of those who had helped during the show’s opening number.
The three excitedly greeted Fallon — Yun even gave him a hug — but little did they know he had an even bigger surprise ahead.
Each introduced themselves and then a member of the crew wheeled out a display of blue-wrapped gifts: a holiday bundle of a watch, tablet, earbuds and a new Galaxy Note 10 Plus, from the show’s sponsor Samsung.
The three laughed and hugged one another.
But that was only the beginning.
Fallon grabbed a phone for a selfie with the three.
“I want to get all of you in here because I want you to remember what I say next,” Fallon said. “You guys ready?”
“Yeah,” the three chimed in.
Then he dropped the bombshell.
“Samsung is going to pay for the remainder of your college tuition,” Fallon said, as he recorded their reaction.
Yun and Zamora screamed. Alan’s mouth dropped wide open in shock.
Confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling as fireworks played on the big screen behind them as the three jumped around and embraced.
“I am feeling euphoric. I feel like I’m on top of the world. I feel like nothing can stop me,” Alan told KXAN after the show. “Thank God, thank Jesus for everything he has given to me. I really appreciate everything Samsung has brought to the table to help me pay off this tuition.”
Tuition for in-state students is $10,000 a year. Both Alan and Yun said on the show that they were sophomores. Zamora did not say, but according to the UT directory she is also a sophomore.
Zamora, a first-generation student, tweeted after the show that getting her tuition paid means the world to her and her family.
“a year ago i was crying in my dorm on the phone with my mom about how we were going to afford my stay at UT.” Zamora tweeted. “this year IM GETTING MY EDUCATION PAID FOR BY @FallonTonight.”