Lincoln could become a ‘ghost town’ in the next decade, as hikes in tuition fees would reduce the city’s student population.
The warning comes from research commissioned by home insurer LV=, which surveyed 1,047 current, recent and prospective higher education students.
The rise in tuition fees up to £9,000 per year could lead to a surge in the number of undergraduates choosing to live at home and study locally.
The University of Lincoln is yet to announce how much it plans to charge in tuition fees from 2012, while Bishop Grosseteste will charge £7,500.
Among the worst hit, the study names Lincoln as well as Newcastle upon Tyne, Swansea, Portsmouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Nottingham and Sheffield.
The study predicts the University of Lincoln will see in real terms a 30% drop in applications, with the city losing 43% of the student population.
This would be because the University of Lincoln has many students who come from poorer backgrounds, and wouldn’t be able to afford the higher fees.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “The LV= student towns report shows how student life is set to be transformed over the next decade, as the impact of rising tuition fees forces university students to reassess their finances and living arrangements.”
However, the University of Lincoln believes the scenario painted in the LV= commissioned report is unrealistic.
University spokesman Ian Richards said: “While student choices might change under the new fee structure from 2012, and more students may opt to live at home to reduce living costs, the scenario painted in this report is simply not one we recognise.
“People who actually live in Lincoln will be well aware of the incredible impact the University has had in terms of creating thousands of new jobs, stimulating economic growth and attracting students and others to live in our historic and beautiful city with its low cost of living.
“We are confident the University’s standing in the league tables and reputation as a quality institution will mean this growth continues.”