Pupils leaving secondary education next year are likely to face a scramble for university places, it has been claimed.
Pam Tetlow, chief executive of education thinktank Million+, said there is set to be a "surge" in applications.
"It is entirely predictable that there will be a big increase in applications to university next year, as would-be students scramble to secure places before a different fee and funding regime is introduced," she commented.
Ms Tetlow noted that even with students facing fees of up to £9,000 it is possible that there will still be a high level of interest in university.
However, she suggested that social mobility could be threatened if young people from disadvantaged backgrounds decide they can no longer afford to go.
Figures published last month by Ucas show there was an 11.6 per cent rise in university applications this year, compared to 2009.