Teesside University Halts Programs for Nigerian Students, Orders Departure from UK

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A group of Nigerian students at Teesside University have been expelled from their courses and ordered to leave the United Kingdom after struggling to pay tuition fees on time, according to a BBC report.

The students cited the devaluation of the naira as a significant factor impeding their ability to pay their fees, which led to a breach of their visa sponsorship requirements.

Consequently, some students have been barred from their studies, reported to the Home Office, and instructed to leave the UK. The university stated it had no choice but to enforce these measures due to stringent external regulations.

The affected students expressed their distress and disappointment, accusing the university of being “heartless” and failing to provide sufficient support. A group of 60 students, who shared their names with the BBC, came together to urge the university to offer assistance after several peers faced severe repercussions for defaulting on payments.

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These students were abruptly locked out of their university accounts and withdrawn from their courses. Adenike Ibrahim, a student nearing graduation, had her visa revoked despite having paid 90% of her tuition fees. “I did default [on payments], but I’d already paid 90% of my tuition fees and I attended all my classes,” she told the BBC. “I called them to reach an agreement, but they do not care what happens to their students. It has been heartbreaking for my son, especially; he has been in so much distress since I told him,” Ibrahim added.

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Esther Obigwe, another affected student, has been struggling with depression due to the situation. She claimed she repeatedly tried to discuss her financial struggles with the university but received no response until she was blocked from her studies and notified to leave the country. “It is disheartening. I am now on antidepressants, and being here alone, I have nobody to talk to. For over two months, I’ve barely eaten or slept, and I don’t understand why this is happening to us. We didn’t do anything wrong.”

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Jude Salubi, a social work student, was informed that his access to the university would be suspended and that he would need to leave the country, despite being in the middle of a critical placement. Salubi said he commuted from Teesside to Liverpool every weekend, working 18 hours to try to settle his outstanding fees. “As of now, I have paid £14,000 and have a balance of £14,000. I am willing to come to an agreement on how I will make this payment, but I need guarantees that I will be re-enrolled in school and my visa restored,” he said.

A university spokesperson stated, “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.”

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The spokesperson acknowledged the financial struggles faced by some students and said the university has proactively offered customized payment plans to those who have requested them. “Many of our international students have taken up this option; however, some students have still defaulted on these revised payment plans,” he said.

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The Home Office clarified that the decision to grant or withdraw visa sponsorship lies with the sponsoring institution. In cases where a visa is shortened or canceled, individuals are advised to either regularize their stay or make arrangements to leave the UK, a spokesperson told the BBC.

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