Universities need to offer fewer places if tuition fees are not replaced by state funding, leading research universities say.
It is expected that a review of the study’s funding after 18 will be published next month.
The Russell Group and seven charities want ministers to rule out a general decline in funding.
The government says employment prospects and drop-out rates are just as important as fair access.
An independent panel led by Philip Augar was asked to analyze whether the current system for students and taxpayers in England offers good value for money.
Tuition fees are now the main source of funding for universities.
Universities receive £ 9,250 per year in advance to cover the tuition.
The Russell Research University Group argues that some courses are closed when tuition is reduced and not replaced by tax money.
Colin Bailey, director of Queen Mary University in London, says that they disagree with the cost of teaching students at home in the current system, but changing tuition would change that.
“We would have to reduce our seats because there are only so many courses that can be done at a loss.
“So there is a limit to the numbers, there will be some courses that would be under pressure.”
Universities are already receiving state funding to rebuild courses that are very expensive to teach, such as engineering and medicine.
It is likely that what the panel recommends will continue.
Universities are worried about possible tuition reductions on topics such as English, history or languages that may not result in a state premium.
In a statement backed by seven charities that help low-income students gain access to college, the Russell Group says a drop in places could result in fewer students from poorer places being given seats.
“The most privileged students will get seats because some of the poorest students may not receive all three A’s or receive the same family support,” says Colin Bailey of Queen Mary University.
Anand Shukla is the CEO of Brightside, one of the charities that also signed the statement.
“We are concerned that if a reduction in enrollment rates leads to a general reduction in university funding, efforts to improve social mobility will be reversed.”
It is likely that these arguments face a strong rejection from the government, which has ruled out a limit on the number.
Ministers can also refer to recent data on the income of graduates.
Although a prominent university degree, such as the Russell Group, can lead to a significant increase in earnings, this is not the case for all universities or subjects.
The figures published last year suggest that one-third of men go to universities whose income is negligible at the age of 29.
In response to the Russell Group’s joint statement, the government claims that there are now a record number of disadvantaged students. The aim of the review is to ensure that there are no barriers to college.
The Ministry of Education said, “We need access and participation from universities to ensure that all parts of society have fair access.”
“Participation must also mean successful participation, which means that not only admission but also progress, drop-out rates and, ultimately, employment are central.”
The Labor Party is committed to eliminating tuition and directly funding universities.
Shadowed Education Minister Angela Rayner said, “A small cut in tuition without replacement financing would be the worst of all worlds.
“The students will still have tens of thousands of pounds of debt and those on low incomes will not see any benefit.”
“In the meantime, funding is cut sharply, which could lead to a crisis in the industry.”
Tuition fees are the most politically controversial topic considered by the Examination Board, but its responsibilities are much wider.
England’s colleges were the most hungry part of education in successive governments, and they are also pushing for a rethinking of their resources.