If you had been told that your tuition fees were going to cost around £9,000 a year at University, would you have still done a degree?

For all prospective students from 2012 onwards, these are exactly the sorts of costs they’re looking at, and Sheffield Hallam University is no different.

The government will cut its teaching grant by 80%, and as a result students at Hallam will be expected to pay £8,500 a year for their education. Is this fair? I spoke to our Education Officer, Ben Dowen, and got his opinion on the matter.

Ben continued to talk about his disappointment with the government spending cuts, “Especially as tuition fees have risen to such a level.”

“I’ve spent the last year protesting against the cuts in local, peaceful protests and organised around 100 students from Hallam to attend the National Demonstration in London last year.”

The Government will provide the money for any student in England who secures a place at university, and the loan will be repayed in small amounts when the graduate is earning more than £21,000 a year.

But Ben thinks this is ridiculous because “the government are loaning money to the students who are funding the university. Raising tuition fees from £3,375 to £8,500 means they have to take out bigger loans. It makes no sense.”

Although the university will be receiving little more income, Ben says they realise that students will justifiably be expecting an even better quality of education and facilities.

“It is vital I stress how hard the university have campaigned against the new funding scheme. But in light of the changes they have created a very clear focus on student experience, and I will be working alongside the union to ensure this is maintained.”

Sheffield Hallam’s official press response to the upcoming fees states, “Whilst we still fundamentally disagree with this new structure, we do understand the rise in fees is a necessity brought about by Government policy and changes to funding streams.”

Current Sheffield Hallam student, Amy Mather, refuses to see sense in the government’s actions. “I don’t think it’s fair at all. It’s just going to deter potential students from lower income backgrounds. If I had to pay that much I certainly wouldn’t have come to uni.”

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Philip Jones says,” We understand that the changes to fees means that choosing University is a serious decision”, but this comment has insulted a number of students.

Amy says, “When I chose to come to Sheffield Hallam and study Journalism it was a serious decision. Professor Jones’ comment implies that current students are not particularly bothered about their degree and that’s not true at all.”

The Chancellor continues his message with “I hope that regardless of your feelings about the fees, you are proud to be a Sheffield Hallam student and that you will carry this with you throughout your life.”

Jade Burton, another Hallam student, understands Professor Jones’ point of view. “Education is one of the many things the government has to cut back on, and it will discourage people who are only interested in the parties and alcohol from studying at university.”

Sheffield Hallam’s official press release concludes: “The University will continue to ensure every student has an enjoyable and fulfilling education at Hallam. Any money we receive will be spent on developing facilities, teaching and work experience opportunities.”

For more information, visit the tuition fees, bursaries and scholarships section on Sheffield Hallam University’s website

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