IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, has urged the Government to introduce a new college fees and loan system without further delay.
The national strategy for higher education, which is due to be published later today, is set to recommend a range of reforms, including a new form of direct student contribution based on an up-front fee with a deferred payment facility.
The report is set to suggest that a new expert group should consider the technical details of how such a scheme might work, however IBEC said that there should be no further delays.
Tony Donohoe, head of education policy in IBEC, said: "Eighteen months ago, the Department of Education and Skills published a comprehensive report on the different options for a student contribution system.
"However the idea was shelved in the revised Programme for Government in October 2009. This decision did a serious disservice to both students and higher education institutions.
"Students and their families have been faced with significant increases in students fees without any support system, while universities and colleges are trying to cope with increased enrolments on an unsustainable funding model.
"If Ireland wants to meet demand for education and to retain quality, it needs to broaden its funding base. The time for prevarication on this issue is over."