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Durham University law student to be deported after scholarship falls through

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Would-be solicitor’s student visa set to be revoked

An international student at Durham University faces deportation after losing his scholarship and being booted off his course.

Raphael Chinwuko, who was in the second year of his law degree, is unable to sit his exams and will have his visa revoked unless he pays the university £27,000 in tuition fees.

He has since launched a crowdfunding appeal in an attempt to pay the debt and has raised a whopping £14,500 in just over a week.

Chinwuko, who is originally from Nigeria, says that he was offered a scholarship by a private organisation to cover the £16,500 annual cost of his study in the UK.

Shortly after completing his first year, he was informed by the uni authorities that his fees had not been paid. Chinwuko says that his sponsors had run into financial difficulty and were unable to pay for his studies.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Chinwuko said:

“I received an email informing me that I was no longer a Durham student during a criminal law lecture. Time stood still for me in that moment and I remember having to try hold back tears.”

In an effort to clear his debt, the aspiring solicitor advocate immediately started working part-time at a local pub. But as an international student, his “hands were tied” because visa rules limit the number of hours he can work. He also tried for college grants, including the university’s Hardship Fund — but since he has now been withdrawn, he was ineligible to apply.

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Chinwuko’s father passed away in 2009 and his mother provides for him and his three siblings on a petty trader’s income, according to his GoFundMe page. He was due to sit his second-year exams in May and June this year. The university have advised that he is now unable to do so, but will be able to sit his exams in August should his fees be cleared by 21 July.

If not, he faces being sent back to Nigeria by the Home Office.

Currently studying for exams he may not be able to take and applying for vacation schemes, Chinwuko turned to crowdfunding in the hope that the generosity of strangers will see him through to final year. Since its launch last week, he has raised £14,500. He says:

“Words aren’t appropriate to express my gratitude. Everyone deserves the chance to realise their dreams regardless of financial setback, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated to help keep my dream alive. I’m blindly optimistic that I’ll be able to raise the amount I need before the deadline.”

Sally McGill, chief financial officer at Durham, 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… 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.”

Legal Cheek understands that Chinwuko is currently appealing his withdrawal from the university in the hope that he is reinstated and able to sit his second-year exams.

You can support Raphael Chinwuko through his GoFundMe page.

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58 Comments

Durham student

This is a disgrace. Shame on you Durham! Go Raphael!

(20)(29)

Anonymous

What a ridiculous thing to say. Yes so his sponsor is outrageous but the home office cannot allow illegals to just stay on.

(47)(17)

Anonymous

He is not fucking illegal!

(10)(4)

Anonymous

People cannot be illegal, only things people do or don’t do.

(2)(2)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

It is completely right he should be deported if he has no legal basis for being in the country.

Why on earth should that be a “shame on Durham”?

Durham is an historic city. There is no room for illegal immigrants in such a grand place.

No visa, no stay.

(45)(31)

Anonymous

Word

It’s simple immigration policy

(19)(5)

Anonymous

Are you guys on crack?

(9)(7)

Anonymous

Because you need to be on crack to believe that those without legal permission/citizenship should be deported? The government has neither the time or resources to care about every single bleeding heart story and has to run on a checkbox system. Either he’s sponsored or he’s out. No sympathy.

(5)(1)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

His basis for remaining in the UK is jeopardised through no fault of his own. He was left high and dry by the private sponsor, and wasn’t made aware of this until it was too late.

He is not an “illegal immigrant”, as his visa is still valid, which you would know if you actually read the article.

Durham is a welcoming city, and I am sure that the vast majority of its students and populace would want him to stay and complete his studies.

(44)(34)

Tealicious

when it is of no fault of his, If you’re not going to donate, kindly shush.

(6)(7)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

The above is the kind of argument I detest but thought I’d make the example for others who are not as clever as me and can’t argue on both sides. Init…

(7)(7)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

I’m sorry you detest arguments based on the given facts.

(5)(2)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Bugger off fascist imitator.

(0)(8)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Quite the retort.

(0)(0)

May and Corbyn Sympathiser

I love Theresa May. Make America Great Again!!!!! :))))

(6)(5)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

What is happening at Legal Cheek today, are they all off stalking Baroness Hale? They’ve missed two amazing LC classic topics – MONEYLAW II: the Milbank Edition and LOVE ISLAND: NQ swaps suit for Bikini and stars on trash TV

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Exactly. I’m shocked and upset that The Lawyer has emailed me twice about Milbank and Legal Cheek are yet to inform me of the impact this will have on MoneyLaw mania.

(3)(0)

Dr Frankenstein

LC=Law Crowdfunder

Sounds about right!

(5)(0)

Student loan arrears kid

Most students can’t afford their fees why on earth are crowd funding entertaining these people. I can’t afford my fees and I took a loan, borrowed and worked. Crowd funding should only be for charitable purposes.

Would I be eligible or assisted if I couldn’t pay my fees in Nigeria? I would also be deported.

Most can’t afford their student fees so why is this chap or burger king treated any different.

(21)(9)

Anonymous

Well done, you take the gold medal in the race to the bottom.

(8)(7)

Anonymous

Try not to be so sad jeez, he doesn’t have a work permit first of all and was already working in a pub, how long does he want to work in the pub to come up with 16000, for something that happened so suddenly, I am sure he has to pay for accommodation, and he is not a UK citizen, who will give him the loan, common sense people. It is the ones that are not donating that have the most to say. Let word be heard.

(17)(1)

Christ you're thick

He obtained a scholarship to support his studies which fell through by no fault of his own. He has unsuccessfully attempted to find other scholarships. Crowdfunding is his only remaining option.

Who will give a 30k loan to a foreign student with visa limited working hours? How is someone in that position supposed to earn anywhere near enough money to pay their fees?

(17)(3)

Anonymous

How do you know if Jesus is thicc or not?

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Legal Cheek ought to change things so that commentators cannot be impersonated by swaggering bird-brains attempting and failing to be clever and funny.

Re the article, Durham come across as rather abrupt and unsympathetic to a student who hasn’t done anything wrong. I hope he raises the money.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

I want to know who the unnamed private sponsor was sounds dodgy.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(6)(0)

Student loan arrears kid

Sorry but how is it abrupt when Durham have given him a lifeline, which all students would be given whether from U.K or abroad ” The university have advised that he is now unable to do so, but will be able to sit his exams in August should his fees be cleared by 21 July”. And he has an appeal process, ( the same rules have been applied, which other students would also be accessing in similar situation) so I fail to see where the abruptness is ?

(6)(4)

Anonymous

Based on the likes and dislikes of the comments , you can clearly see who are the racist and xenophobic cunts in here. Mr “Durham is a historical city” BS.

Stop being a heartless c*nt and let the system and Raphael deal with this.

(7)(8)

Think before you comment

For those saying, why cant he just take a loan? Please conduct some research on Tier 4 Student Visa conditions. International Students are not entitled to public funds; this means they cannot borrow government loans.

It is easy for all of you to make such insensitive comments because you are not the one going through this horrible experience. If only you could put yourself in that young man’s shoes for a moment, you would understand why you should never comment such insensitive remarks.

Hopefully he raises the money before 21 July. Definitely donating!

(23)(4)

Anonymous

Best comment I’ve read thus far. God bless you and prayers go out to him. I fully understand his struggles and hope he manages to raise the funds.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Difficult situation, if he has genuinely had a sponsor and they have come across hard-times then I do sympathise and hope that there is a positive outcome. I think Durham will be concerned about setting an unwelcome precedent here. I think this concern is partially valid, as the student visa system is one of the areas that is exploited with fake students, fake colleges etc.

I think some work needs to be done to clarify the circumstances of the sponsor, I am sure that they would be willing to co-operate given their contribution to this situation. If it proves to be a true story, then surely Durham can mitigate it’s losses by putting a realistic repayment schedule in place. Could they allow him to continue as a part-time student so that he can obtain a form of paid employment and study at the same time. Granted it would take him longer to complete his studies, but surely that is a better outcome than deportation without any studies.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

It is a true story. He is a classmate of my son.

(1)(3)

Student loan arrears kid

If the tables were turned and I was unable to apply for student loan in Nigeria I would see what assistance is available in my home country, or defer for a year until I am able to return.

Most students can’t afford their fees so I fail to see why he should be given sympathy above all other students in the UK, and why on earth he should be funded by crowd funding.

Alternatively he could complete his studies in his home country after he defers and earns in Nigeria.

A U.K student who can’t afford fees could defer. I see single parents who lose housing benefit because they have become a full time student, I don’t see them crowd funding.

(5)(5)

Anonymous

You’re (seemingly intentionally) ignoring the fact that his scholarship fell through for no reason of his own. He didn’t set out knowing the scholarship would fall through. He had a good reason to expect to be able to pay.

He’s hoping people will have sympathy with the fact that his financial difficulties are not his own fault to enable him not to defer. If people wish to donate their money then good for them and good for him.

Most students can’t afford their own fees but they’re not forced to defer.

(3)(4)

Lady Hale fanboy

But what does Baroness Hale think?

(2)(0)

Student loan arrears kid

Dear Sir ( or Madam ) I do not seemingly intentionally ignore anything. Yes we know his scholarship failed, as do many UK students who unfortunately suffer unexpected finance issues… respectfully what you fail to grasp is he does not automatically become ethically entitled to crowd fund above UK students thrown into a sudden financial issues. Of course UK students would have to defer as a final resort or drop out of the course.

Why does his need supersede the need of UK students. The moral compass is as it was if I was in Nigeria in the same predicament. I do feel sorry for him but equally so for the thousands of UK students who are faced with sudden financial issues. Crowd funding is for charity, should all students stampede towards crowd funding? Sympathy is not debated here … the system is fair. The system has treated him as fairly as any other student.

(6)(5)

Anonymous

Paying for education is donating to Charity – See Statute of Elizabeth

(3)(0)

Anonymous

In any event it shouldn’t matter. Crowdfunding isn’t just for charity. It’s even used to start businesses.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

No-one is saying that his need “trumps” anyone else’s, and he is not “ethically entitled” to crowd fund any more than anyone else. He is in a sticky situation and asked for help. Whether or not any individual wants to help him is entirely up to them, and you have no business whatsoever being resentful about whether strangers decide to use their own money to help one cause over another.

And of course crowd funding is not just for “charity”, although I can’t see why this can’t fairly be described as “charity.” People crowdfund for all sorts of things, from hair brained business ideas to their gap years. Before “crowd funding” was even coined as a term I remember students at my school begging for cash to fund their dubious trips abroad to build a school or some other equally in-efficacious project. Presumably such fund raising activities still happen and some people still support them. I wouldn’t, but I don’t resent those who do.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Completely agree. What a bizarre argument that asking for funding is somehow immoral and unfair to British students who:

1. Have loans so don’t need typically need to crowdfund, and
2. Can crowdfund if they want to.

(2)(3)

Replicant

Are the bitter commenters
a) students who can’t get their TC?
b) lawyers who hate their life?
c) a Bond villain who had an accident and now hates everyone?

I’m sure Raphael will read through the comments, and it’s really petty of them.

Good luck Raphael and stay strong!!

(11)(6)

Anonymous

LOL@”WOULD-BE SOLICITOR” DESCRIPTION – A LITTLE TOO EARLY, HUH?

(2)(0)

Big Dolla

Tough situation for Raphael.

I hope he gets the funding.

I personally don’t understand the negativity. He’s not entitled – he isn’t making any argument that people are morally obliged to help him, nor that his education should be free, etc. He’s just asking for help.

And if people freely decide to do so with their hard-earned money, respect.

(4)(1)

Student loan arrears kid

I don’t resent the chap at all. And if crowd funders want to help him that’s their call. Students find difficulty in paying fees in general and have sudden financial issues, what I do not understand is why burger king student and this chap are given more sympathy then thousands of students who are unable to pay fees and can’t source funding in the UK are somehow less in need.

I don’t think the university have been harsh.. they’ve treated him the same as any other student… by the rules and regulations.

I may have to start my own crowd funding to pay my t.v licence each year.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

This guy is getting sympathy because his problems are entirely not his fault.

There are not thousands of British students in the same position. UK students all have access to loans. Those with more difficult financial situations have access to larger loans. Raphael does not have access to loans.

You also really need to learn how to use the reply function instead of making a new parent comment every time.

(5)(1)

Former Durham LLB

I hope he gets sufficient fees for this year’s exam. After that, he can take gap years to find another sponsor. According to the Law Society, he just needs to complete the study within five or six years (have to check, but he has at least two years) to get a qualifying law degree.

I am sure that the school board will be accepting of his circumstances and grant him gap years so he can get the funds he needs.

By the way, I was an international student at Durham LLB as well and took a gap year in between. Raphael, if you are reading this, consider applying for a gap year or something. Go to Mr Thom Brooks and tell him your circumstances (although he might be aware).

Good luck with everything.

(6)(2)

Student loan arrears kid

Thousands of UK students ( one example single parents ) are unable to get more help that you speak of. Their housing benefit is taken away and they struggle. Student loans do not cover every situation or child care extortionate fees. I have simply stated his needs are no more or no less than others in financial difficulty and the cavalry are out in full force.

Thank you for the animosity, this is a comments page and yes you’re right I do not know how to post on here as it’s my first time.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Raphael isn’t asking to raise money for housing support or anything else. He’s raising money purely for his fees. UK citizens can get 100% of their fees paid through student loans.

You haven’t “simply stated his needs are no more and no less”. You said he was in some way acting immorally by resorting to crowdfunding and stated factual inaccuracies about the level of support available to him compared to others .

(4)(0)

Student loan arrears kid

I have actually not written immoral anywhere. And respectfully no, single parents are not assisted with everything. They’re stripped of housing benefit, so where you state fees are covered, their rent or child care fees are not. This is a financial stress as much as this chap. Whether it’s fees or rent, or food, as a student funds/ finance are needed for all these areas.

His needs are no more and no less than a struggling single parent who housing benefit and child care stripped. If the single parent has her fees paid the student loan does not cover rent or child care… result – another student who may have to leave the course as finances are not enough. This is just one example. Please do not make assumptions about what my views are.

To clarify his needs are no more and no less than other students who’s studies are jeopardized from funding/ finance issues and lack of.

Farewell

(0)(1)

Anonymous

While you didn’t use the word immoral, you did say that he was not ethically entitled to crowd fund, implying that his decision to crowdfund was unethical. Same diff.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Mfw u thought the Nigerian Prince would actually part with his money

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I just realised how poisonous and vexatious the legal profession, and even just the pursuit of it, can be. 2-3 years ago whilst still in uni I would have legit felt sorry for this guy and ranted about the importance of financially supporting talent from around the world etc etc….

However, after years of chasing the allusive training contract and working my ass off in underpaid paralegal positions, I can honestly just say I’m glad in a few weeks time there will be one less candidate to compete with. Yes, I have a massive chip on my shoulder.

(1)(1)

Replicant

If you think TCs are “allusive” you ‘re not going to go far I must say..

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Elusive. Fair enough… not even going to blame autocorrect this time. My statement of self interest still stands though.

(1)(0)

A&O Trainee

He needs to go back to Nigeria and never return. Looks like a thug.

(2)(4)

Anonymous

The only thing funny about this post is that it says A&O trainee…. joke

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Petty traders are those who sell things like roses and watches, I just googled it.

The chap seems to study law at Durham for two years , save for his second year exams, even though his funder did not pay at all.

There is no mention here or on the webpage about who his funder was.

He works at the cab which is great.

The shame other people who are down on their luck feel is that the offspring of petty traders and single parents here are not turbocharged to Durham university, by and large, and if they do end up in law, they are paralegals, not solicitor advocates. They may once have had dreams too.

The danger of course is that the educated and experienced poor here end up like John lennon or Tony benn, when they are given a run. So you cant take the risk of giving them free grants or even chipping in to a crowd fund. It would be like giving breath to a better world.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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