Students will almost certainly have to pay more for university in the UK – possibly through a graduate tax – the Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.
He said he had asked Lord Browne to look at the idea of a graduate tax “as a priority” in his current review in to higher education funding in England.
This would mean students paying for their studies through the tax system, rather than through subsidised loans.
He said high-earning graduates would pay more than those on low incomes.
The money would probably be paid through taxes over a set period, not a life-time, he told journalists later.
In his first key speech on universities, Mr Cable set out a series of potentially sweeping changes, including the introduction of more market forces into the higher education sector and more flexible, shorter degree courses.
At London’s South Bank University, Mr Cable told a lecture hall of vice-chancellors and key figures from higher education it was time for a “radical rethink” of how universities were funded.