A STUDENT at risk of being deported because of unpaid fees has managed to raise almost enough to cover a full year of tuition in just a week.

Raphael Chinwuku, a law student at Durham University, may lose his visa in July if he is unable to pay two years of tuition fees.

The 22-year-old, who is from Nigeria, started studying in Durham in 2016.

He says he had been offered a scholarship by the college where he did his foundation degree but found out after his first year that no payment had been made to the university.

Getting a job as a bar tender at Wetherspoons, he says he started saving up to try and pay off some of the debt but in February was sent an email telling him to leave the university.

He said: “When I got the email my heart just stopped. I couldn’t believe it. That was really, really hard.

“I made some payments but relative to what is outstanding it is almost insignificant.

“I hoped the payments would show I was being proactive and show that I’m not taking the Mickey.”

Mr Chinwuku, who is currently staying with friends in Cambridge, has made payments of around £6,000, leaving him with a £27,000 debt.

He decided to start the online fundraiser after receiving a letter from the Home Office at the end of May, telling him he would have to leave the country by July 21 because he is no longer entitled to a student visa.

In just seven days, the crowdfunding campaign has raised more than £14,000.

He said: “It’s really, really overwhelming how much people believe in me and my dream and want to help right this situation.

“I’m really thankful.”

Sally McGill, chief financial officer at Durham University, said: “Whilst we are unable to comment on the specifics of Raphael’s case, we hope he can find the funding to continue his studies at Durham.

“On occasion, factors beyond a student’s control can significantly change their financial circumstances – even if they had a sound financial plan in place when embarking on their studies. On the rare occasion where a sponsor fails to pay on a student’s behalf, a student can find themselves liable for a debt.

“If a student is unable to pay, it is not in their best interests to struggle to continue with their studies with mounting debt.

“We consider each student’s circumstances and look to set up a manageable payment plan, whilst always trying to ensure fairness and consistency in how we support students in such difficulty.”