A campaign has raised over £11,000 for a medicine student after she was threatened with limited access to course materials.
The international student, who studies in Nottingham, relies on her family’s farm in Indonesia and her part-time job to pay her course fees.
Sola Abigail, 23, from Java, Indonesia, found she was unable to pay her tuition fees due to her family’s reduced income because of the pandemic.
A fundraiser aiming to help her pay her fees set up by her friend just three days ago has raised over £11,000 to put towards her medicine degree.
Sola, who was unable to get any financial support for her tuition, explained how the pandemic affected her day-to-day life.
She said: “My mental health has taken a massive toll.
“Lockdown is depressing, medical school is stressful, but for me there is the added stress of the threat of having my IT restricted for the past two weeks.
“I am just all kinds of exhausted.”
The University of Nottingham warned Sola that if she was unable to pay her tuition fees this month, her access to online material would be restricted.
This would have included her access to online classes and materials.
But, over 350 people donated money to help pay for Sola’s degree to allow her to become a doctor, enabling her to pay her fees on time.
She said: “The finance control department [at the university] is not very understanding.
“Even as I communicated my intention to pay my fees this week, they took the time to sternly remind me of the threat of a looming restriction associated with my future payments.
“Fortunately, the medical school is more helpful and understanding, even though they are limited in terms of what they are able to do.”
Mahsa Kabuli, 22, who also studies at the University of Nottingham, set up the fundraiser on the GoFundMe website but did not expect such a positive outcome, with it being shared across social media.
She said: “The response from this fundraiser has been so overwhelmingly positive, and definitely not something that either Sola or I anticipated.
“Despite our low expectations, I’m glad that we set it up because it means Sola can continue her medical education.”
A friend of mine would need your help to finish her medical degree at University of Nottingham. The pandemic hits her family hard and even your smallest donation and retweet could help. #gofundmehttps://t.co/0eGFZiFtG4
— Vennefer of Yengerberg (@_eleutheromanic) January 30, 2021
My friend (a 3rd year med student) is having her IT cut off by the UoN because her family cannot afford to pay full tuition fees right now due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business.
— مهسا. (@mvhsaa) January 29, 2021
Miss Kabuli also believes that more should be done to support international students during these times.
She added: “I do think more can be done by many UK universities to support their international students, both mentally and financially.
“Especially when many students come to the UK for a better education and lifestyle.”
This comes after the government announced a £50 million support fund for students facing financial hardship during the coronavirus crisis.
But, Sola admits her fundraiser has enabled her to focus on her studies rather than worry about her financial concerns.
She said: “I feel very grateful and in disbelief, some people are giving so generously so it’s really restored my faith in humanity.
“I am definitely less worried than before and better able to focus on revision.”
A University of Nottingham spokesperson said: “The University has a range of measures in place to support students who have been financially impacted by the pandemic, including our Student Hardship Fund, Covid-19 Crisis Fund and payment plan options for those who are struggling to cover the cost of their fees at this challenging time.
“We are aware of the difficulties that Sola is experiencing, and she is being offered advice and assistance by colleagues in the School of Medicine.”
Sola’s GoFundMe can be found here.
By Faith Pring.