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  1. Politics
12 April 2011

Nick Clegg’s tuition fees headache gets bigger

The University of Sheffield joins the £9,000 club.

By George Eaton

Nick Clegg may insist that he’s not feeling the pressure (“I’m very, very resilient,” he told Sky News this morning) but there’s been plenty to upset him already today. He’s been forced to respond to a call by the former leader of the Lib Dems in Liverpool for the national party to pull out of the coalition, and he’s been ridiculed after being left off local election leaflets in his constituency.

Worst of all, the University of Sheffield has announced that it plans to charge the maximum £9,00 a year in undergraduate tuition fees. Not only does this mean the government’s £1bn black hole just got a little bigger, it also means Clegg will have to contend with even more outraged students in his constituency come election time.

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Of the 43 universities we’ve heard from, 31, or 72 per cent, intend to charge full whack, including Oxford (ranked first nationally) and Liverpool John Moores (ranked 109th). Vince Cable’s insistence that institutions would only charge £9,000 in “exceptional circumstances” now looks remarkably naive.