Nigerian Students Kicked Out Of UK University Due To Currency Crisis

Teesside University students protesting on campus

A financial crisis in Nigeria has resulted in a heartbreaking situation for dozens of Nigerian students studying at Teesside University in the UK. The students have been thrown off their courses and ordered to leave the country after struggling to pay tuition fees due to a plummeting Nigerian naira.

The root of the problem lies in Nigeria’s ongoing economic turmoil. With inflation exceeding 34 percent, the value of the naira has drastically decreased, significantly depleting the savings Nigerian students brought to the UK. To make matters worse, Teesside University changed its tuition fee payment plan from seven installments to three, further straining student finances.

Students who fell behind on payments faced harsh consequences. The university blocked their access to university accounts, withdrew them from courses, and reported them to the Home Office, jeopardizing their visas. Some students were even contacted by debt collectors.

Adenike Ibrahim, nearing the completion of her Master’s degree, missed a single payment and was subsequently kicked out of her program and reported to the Home Office. Despite clearing the outstanding fees, she has not been re-enrolled and faces deportation along with her young son.

“They do not care what happens to their students,” Ms. Ibrahim lamented.

The Home Office has cancelled the visas of affected students, citing their withdrawal from studies at Teesside University. These students are given no right to appeal and face a strict deadline to leave the UK.

The psychological impact on students has been severe. Several students reported feeling suicidal and struggling to eat or sleep due to the stress and uncertainty. Esther Obigwe, another affected student, expressed her despair and criticized the university’s lack of support.

“Being here alone, I have nobody to talk to. I don’t understand why this is being meted at us, we didn’t do anything wrong,” Esther said.

While Teesside University maintains they’ve offered support and individualized payment plans, many students claim these efforts were insufficient or unresponsive. The university asserts they are bound by strict visa regulations and cannot intervene in the Home Office’s decisions.

A university spokesman said: “Teesside University is proud to be a global institution with a diverse student population but is also very aware of its obligations regarding visa issuance and compliance.

“These strict external regulations ensure that the university fully supports a robust immigration system and is outside of the university’s control.

“We are aware of the challenging financial situation faced by some students and have actively offered bespoke payment plans where requested.

“This option has been taken up by many of our international students; however, some students have still defaulted on these revised payment plans.”