UK university offers flight assistance to expelled Nigerian students

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Teesside University in the United Kingdom has announced a new initiative to support Nigerian students facing severe financial difficulties by funding their flights home, as reported by BBC on Tuesday.

This initiative follows the removal of several students from their courses and orders to leave the UK due to unpaid tuition fees.

The financial crisis in Nigeria, compounded by Teesside University’s switch from a seven-installment to a three-installment payment plan, left many students struggling. A local food charity reported that 75% of its clients are now Nigerian students, underscoring their dire financial situation.

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On May 22, 2024, a group of Nigerian students at Teesside University were expelled and ordered to leave the UK due to late tuition payments. The students attributed their financial struggles to the devaluation of the naira, which hindered their ability to meet visa sponsorship requirements.

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Several students reported being locked out of their university accounts, flagged to the Home Office, and mandated to leave the UK. The university defended its actions, citing strict external regulations.

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The affected students, numbering 60, expressed deep distress and disappointment, accusing the university of being unsupportive and “heartless.” They united to plead for assistance after witnessing the severe repercussions of late payments.

On May 29, 2024, the Federal Government of Nigeria intervened, addressing the deportation orders issued against some Nigerian students. A delegation led by Ambassador Christian Okeke, alongside leaders of the Nigerian Students Union in the UK, met with the university’s management to seek a resolution.

Following protests and the Nigerian government’s intervention, the university has re-enrolled some affected students and established a relief fund. “We are working with a small group who need to return to their home country and are opening an international relief fund to offer additional financial support for these unexpected travel costs,” a university spokesperson told the BBC.

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

The university is also offering some students the option to complete their studies remotely from Nigeria or return to the UK at a later date. Meanwhile, some students have lodged legal appeals.

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