The report – Education at a Glance – compared figures for 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries plus countries such as Brazil, Russia, Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
Figures show that students in only two other countries – the United States and Korea – pay more for a university degree than in England and Wales.
Data from the OECD showed that students were charged the equivalent of approximately £3,100 a year for university courses in 2008/9.
University tuition fees in England and Wales are more expensive than in Japan and Australia and don’t bear comparison to European competitors such as France, the Netherlands and Sweden, where tuition is free.
The figures were collated before the cap on tuition fees was nearly trebled to £9,000 for students entering courses in 2012 – this trebling could result in England and Wales ending up having the most expensive public universities in the world.
According to the OECD, the US example has shown that a steep rise in tuition fees resulted in a ‘stagnation’ in the number of people going on to university, as the scale of loan repayments represented a “difficult psychological barrier” for poor students to overcome.