Dentistry may be among the university courses facing a fees hike if the government follows new advice.
Ministers have been advised that they should consider an increase in tuition fees for undergraduates taking courses such as law and medicine.
The report suggests that many undergraduates were not opposed to the idea of paying higher fees for ‘prestige’ courses which led to higher salaries. But critics fear this will freeze out cash-strapped students.
The report, by the Institute for Employment Studies, was published as a panel set up to review student tuition fees heard its first evidence.
It tested a series of hypothetical scenarios on a group of 81 university applicants and found that few students would be willing to pay more for places at elite universities.
The review led by Lord Browne, the former chairman of BP, is expected to set out recommendations for a future system of fees, grants and loans.
Students – who disrupted a hearing today (Friday) of the review – claim that any significant rise will hit many students.
The National Union of Students warned that it would mean more students were forced to raid the ‘bank of mum and dad’.
Meanwhile, the study stated: ‘Differential fees should be considered. Potential applicants, especially non-traditional ones [those who are usually less likely to go to university], may be more open to such differentials than they are to differentials between [universities].’