Only a third of secondary school students understand how the government's new tuition fee system will work.
Research commissioned by the Sutton Trust found that the majority of children between the ages of 11 and 16 have a lack of understanding regarding the coalition's plans.
More than a fifth of respondents believe that the family of a young person pays for their university education, while a fifth admitted they were unsure who pays.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: "Our survey reveals widespread misunderstanding of the new fees system among school pupils - but once again demonstrates high levels of aspirations to go to university among 11-16 year olds of all backgrounds who realise education is increasingly the key to future employment."
Children from poorer backgrounds have the weakest understanding of the new system, the study revealed.
Tuition fees are set to increase to £9,000 across many English universities from 2012.
Posted by Dolcie Thacker