City’s population could halve in a decade following tuition fee hikes

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SHEFFIELD’s population could halve by the year 2020 if soaring university tuition fees force students to live at home, a new report has suggested.

A survey found student numbers could fall by 42 per cent in Sheffield over the next decade, as tuition fees are increased to up to £9,000 a year.

The poll of 1,000 students and parents showed half of youngsters planning to go to university will choose a local one or stay at home.

The results showed the number of students living at home will double to 47 per cent over the next 10 years and climb to over 50 per cent by 2030.

Student numbers would also fall drastically in Newcastle and Lincoln, the report said.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Hallam University has been exposed as having the highest number of “cheating” students in Yorkshire.

Hallam - which is set to announce tomorrow whether it will increase its fees to £9,000 from 2012 - had the most incidents of plagiarism across the region, with just over 1,500 in the past three years.

The university’s assistant registrar for assessment, awards and registrations, Louise Richards, said: “We record and formalise all low-level cases of plagiarism that other institutions may deal with informally through tutors. This means even cases of incorrect referencing or a failure to acknowledge other contributions would be recorded.

“We adopt a progressive approach, with clear regulations given to staff and students to give them confidence in marking, and ensure academic integrity.”

Figures showed Sheffield University found 25 cases of plagiarism in 2009-2010 and excluded 16 students for cheating in the last three years.

Liz Buckton, head of Sheffield University’s Service Quality Unit, said those were the “most serious” cases, which the university decided needed to be dealt with through its disciplinary procedures.

Tomorrow is the Government’s deadline for universities to set their tuition fees from 2012.