Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tuition Fee Rise Threatens to Empty City of 15,000 Students; North May Be Worst Hit, Says New Research

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tuition Fee Rise Threatens to Empty City of 15,000 Students; North May Be Worst Hit, Says New Research

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicola Weatherall

NEWCASTLE could become a "ghost town" by 2020 as tuition fees spark an exodus of students, a report out today will claim.

New research suggests the city could be the hardest hit in the country over the coming years as student populations are predicted to significantly decline.

The study, by home insurance company LV=, forecasts that the number of students living in the city will slump by 52% in the next nine years - a loss of 15,000 students.

With Newcastle University planning to charge pounds 9,000 a year in fees from 2012, and Northumbria University hoping to charge pounds 8,500, it is feared that many young people will either study in their home city or not go to university at all.

According to the study, areas with large student populations, such as Jesmond and Fenham, could see a slump in property prices as buy-to-let houses are no longer rented by students. Adam White, president of Northumbria University's student union, who lives in Heaton, Newcastle, said he was concerned about how the fee increase could affect local businesses.

He said: "I originally come from Doncaster and I don't know if I would have moved to Newcastle if I had to pay so much in tuition fees.

"The fees are a real concern for students and could have a big impact on the economy in the North East, especially as fewer students might come to Newcastle from around the country and students from the region might feel priced out of the market.

"The North East is already suffering economically compared to the rest of the country and the rise in fees could make it worse if people stop coming here."

Tom Delamere, president of Newcastle University's student union, said he hoped students would not be deterred from coming to the North East.

He added: "Students contribute in many ways to the diverse atmosphere that surrounds Newcastle, from volunteering to generating income for local businesses. …

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