A student in Nebraska has been kicked out of her degree for being gay. Now the university, withholding credits, is refusing to allow the student a transfer unless she pays the school a several thousand dollar fine.

Danielle Powell, who was approaching the end of her bachelor’s degree, is now being told she cannot transfer to another school until she agrees to pay a debt of $6,300 (£4,023).

Grace, a religious university, initially suspended the student back in March 2011 for “immoral behaviour”, under which “homosexual acts” were implicated alongside “premarital sex” and “adultery”. This move revoked Powell’s academic scholarship leaving her in debt of just over $6,000 (£3,831).

The school, however, promised to reintegrate Powell on the condition that she attend a restoration programme. The programme, which included both counselling and regular church attendance, placed the student off-campus, in a position where she could no longer use the overnight dorms.

Powell was kicked out in 2012 after refusing to continue working under the imposed restrictions, and the university banned her permanently after it was discovered she was still dating women.

By October, Powell was already looking into attending another college, but was then informed by the university that she could only transfer her three and a half year credits on the condition that she pay the $6,300 tuition fee in full. The university denies they had withheld her transcripts, but Powell states she’s only been offered a student copy she cannot use to transfer.

With no options and no money left, Powell with her wife Michelle Rogers have started an online petition to persuade the university into forgiving the outstanding debt.

The petition, launched over the weekend, now has more than 12,000 signatures.