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 He also tried for college grants, including the university’s Hardship Fund — but since he has now been withdrawn, he was ineligible to apply.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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Durham student

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



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



He is not fucking illegal!



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


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.




It’s simple immigration policy



Are you guys on crack?



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.


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.



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


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…


Corbyn. Sympathiser

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


Corbyn. Sympathiser

Bugger off fascist imitator.


Corbyn. Sympathiser

Quite the retort.


May and Corbyn Sympathiser

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



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



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



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.


Dr Frankenstein

LC=Law Crowdfunder

Sounds about right!


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.



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



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.


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?



How do you know if Jesus is thicc or not?



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.



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



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


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 ?



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.


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!



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.



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.



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


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.



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.


Lady Hale fanboy

But what does Baroness Hale think?


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.



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



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



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.



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.



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!!





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.


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