MOVES to charge students the maximum £9,000 a year in tuition fees were a sad day for Sheffield University and for the city as a whole, student leaders warned today.
Fees for undergraduate courses are set to triple from September next year after the Government withdrew nearly all direct state funding for university teaching.
Student representatives at the decisive university council meeting opposed the move.
Sheffield’s decision to charge the same as other elite universities such as Oxford and Cambridge is also set to cause fresh embarrassment to Hallam MP Nick Clegg, who has been the focus of student anger for his policy U-turn on fees since joining the coalition.
Sheffield student union president Josh Forstenzer said the move would hurt social mobility and cause a £1 billion funding black hole – due to the Government having to pay out the maximum fees in student loans.
He said: “The university was founded by donations from the local community to ensure the finest education was within the reach of the children of working people in our area.”
“With this decision, we fear that many local families will be put off sending their children to university by heavy burdens of debt.
“Students haven’t forgotten that less than a year ago our local MP Nick Clegg pledged to abolish tuition fees and called for investment in education to be maintained.
“Now the university which educates thousands of his constituents, will charge £9,000 fees as a direct consequence of his actions in government.”