Tuition fees soar in Sheffield

www.indymedia.org.ukSheffield is to become one of the most expensive UK cities to study in when tuition fees rise in 2012.

The city’s two universities have pledged to raise their fees after the government announced an 80% cut to higher education teaching grants.

The University of Sheffield has planned to charge the maximum amount of £9000 per year, but has also agreed to increase financial support to students from its current £6.7m, to £10m in 2012. 

Sheffield Hallam is charging slightly less at £8500 per annum, and said it had carefully considered the fee in order to “set a level that will deliver high quality education”.

Professor Philip Jones, Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam said: “We understand that the changes to fees means that choosing a university is a serious decision, but we believe that it is a choice that will pay financial, social and personal dividends throughout each student’s life.”

Almost 75% of universities have opted to charge the maximum amount possible, with the average cost standing at £8,678.36.

According to research carried out by High Fliers, more than half of current final year students said they would not have gone to university if they had to pay the maximum amount of £9000 per year to obtain a degree.

A third said that they would have been turned off by fees of £6000.

It is also thought that Sheffield’s student population could half by 2020 if expensive tuition fees force people to live at home, or pick a university nearby, according to research by LV.

This is expected to hit many university towns and cities in England, including Newcastle and Lincoln.

Last November, over 200 students marched to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s constituency office in Sheffield, to protest against rises in tuition fees.

During the run up to the last general election, Nick Clegg publically stated that his party would not raise tuition fees if they were elected.

The Liberal Democrats continuing poor performance in the polls has raised speculation that they could lose half of their councils, and around 700 councillors, in the upcoming local elections.

The Green Party are now the only group in Westminster who say they would abolish tuition fees if they gained power.

Sheffield Green Party Councillor, Jillian Creasy, said: “We would abolish tuition fees completely and pay for university education from general taxation.

“The fact that Sheffield Hallam has set their fees almost as high as Sheffield University means there is no real choice for students wishing to study in Sheffield. So much for marketing higher education.”

Listen to what some students think about the rise in tuition fees.

By Phil Corker

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About Philip Corker

Journalist, Musician, and Blogger
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