Daniel Autumn, 25, is a second year psychology student at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University.
He has been found to be a perfect match for his mum, Carolyne Douglas, 44, who is suffering kidney failure, and is desperate to donate his kidney to save her life.
Daniel has £1,800 of tuition fees to pay, and was planning on working over the summer to pay them. However the transplant could go ahead within three months, and he won't be able to work for 12 weeks while he recovers.
He passed the first year of his course in Newcastle, but transferred to Edinburgh to be closer to his mum who he cares for. He has to pay fees as he failed the second year of his course and had to repeat it while struggling to care for Carolyne.
Daniel has been to the university to offer a payment plan, but has been hold he must pay the full amount by mid-August, something he cannot afford without working the summer.
"I've been to quite a few places and explained the situation, but they've just said it's university policy and there's nothing they can do," he told the Scotsman.
"It's all just added to an already stressful situation."
Daniel has set up an online fundraising page in a desperate attempt to raise the money: "Everybody keeps saying that donating my kidney is amazing and brave, but it's my mother and it's not something I thought twice about.
"I was relieved when I found out I was a match, but scared as well. They told me I could die, which is never a fun thing to hear, but I've never changed my mind or wavered."
Carolyne, 44, from Edinburgh, who is also mum to Kirsty, 23, Alan, 18, and Jamie, 16, worked at a food outlet before she had to give up work to have hours of dialysis three times a week because of her degenerative condition.
"It's just a horrible situation. I want the transplant as soon as possible, but I don't want my son to give up his education," says Carolyne.
"I think what he's doing is amazing. At first I didn't want to accept it, but he's an intelligent young man. We've discussed it and decided it's best for everyone, but it is horrible to think your son is going through a major operation and the dangers involved."
A spokeswoman from Heriot-Watt University said: "We are very sorry to hear about the problems that Daniel and his family are facing.
"Heriot-Watt offers a variety of student support services and had agreed payment options with Daniel before the recent change in his family's circumstances.
"We would strongly recommend, as previously advised, that Daniel applies to the student hardship fund on the basis of his current circumstances. The university will work with him to see what steps can be taken to resolve his situation."
For more information on Daniel and Carolyne's story, visit his fundraising page online at Gofundme.com.
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