A group of Nigerian students have been thrown off university courses and ordered to leave the United Kingdom after they struggled to pay tuition fees on time, BBC reports.

The Teesside University students have said the devaluation of the naira has made it difficult for them to pay their tuition fees, leading to a breach of visa sponsorship requirements.

As a result, some students have been blocked from their studies, reported to the Home Office, and ordered to leave the UK.

The university claims it has no choice but to take this action, citing strict external regulations.

Affected students have expressed their distress and disappointment, feeling that the university is being “heartless” and not providing adequate support.

The group of 60 students, who chose to share their names with the BBC, banded together to urge the university to offer support after several of their peers faced severe consequences for defaulting on payments.

These students were abruptly locked out of their university accounts and forcibly withdrawn from their courses.

Adenike Ibrahim, a student who was close to graduating, had her visa revoked and was told to leave the country, 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 went to all of my classes,” she told BBC.

“I called them and asked 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.

Esther Obigwe, another affected student, has been struggling with depression due to the situation.

She claims she repeatedly tried to speak to the university about her financial struggles but received no response until she was blocked from her studies and received notice to leave the country.

Obigwe said, “I attended all of my classes and seminars, I’m a hell of an active student.

“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 being meted at us, we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jude Salubi, a student pursuing a degree in social work, was suddenly informed that his access to the university would be suspended and that he would be required 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 as to how I will make this payment, but I need guarantees that I will be re-enrolled into school and my visa restored,” he said.

A university spokesman said, “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.”

The spokesman acknowledged that the university is aware of the financial struggles faced by some students and has proactively offered customised payment plans to those who have requested them.

“This option has been taken up by many of our international students; however, some students have still defaulted on these revised payment plans,” he said.

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 cancelled, individuals are advised to either regularise their stay or make arrangements to depart the UK, a spokesman told BBC.