A Melbourne university student is celebrating after 145 people chipped in almost AU$20,000 (NZ$20,660) to cover her school fees and save her from expulsion.

Sanduni Sulochana, who was facing the prospect of being deported to Sri Lanka if she failed to stump up the cash, is in her final semester of an economics degree at the University of Melbourne.

Thanks to friend Thavisha Rambukwella, who set up an online crowd funding campaign, Ms Sulochana will be able to stay in Australia and finish her studies.

The cash-strapped student was working part time but struggling to pay off a AU$4549 debt from the last semester's fees, with the current semester's AU$16,000 fee looming.

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"She is working at the moment but everything she earns goes towards paying her rent," Rambukwella wrote on the GoFundMe page.

"She can't come up with it on her own and her parents are at a place where they are unable to settle this amount.

"She has had a very hard two years and currently in a financially dire situation."

Sulochana was at risk of having her student visa cancelled if she did not pay her outstanding debt by the end of the month, with $8000 towards the current semester fee due on September 7.

"Let us help her graduate," Rambukwella wrote. "She is an amazing person and has being working really hard at her studies while going through all of this hardship. As she has come all this way, she deserves any help and any donations will be very much appreciated."

Supporters left messages of encouragement while donating sums ranging from $10 to $300.

She is an amazing person and has being working really hard at her studies while going through all of this hardship.

"I'm so sorry for the situation you're in. I really hope everything works out," one supporter wrote.

"Stay strong and hang in there! Hope this helps you," another message said. "You worked too hard through all the crazy tough subjects in uni and you deserve your degree."

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- with APP.