Universities in England face funding cuts of £4.2bn in the coming Spending Review, an e-mail leaked to the BBC News website suggests.
Universities UK head Professor Steve Smith wrote to vice-chancellors saying this week's Browne Review set out figures that "confirm our worst fears".
He says they signal a £3.2bn or 79% cut from teaching and £1bn from research in next week's Spending Review.
In his letter to fellow vice-chancellors, the UUK president suggests the impact of the Spending Review will be more important than Lord Browne's review of fees published this week.
This is "because potential cuts have been getting worse and worse", he says.
He continues: "Browne explicitly says that Hefce (England's university funding body) will have teaching funding of £700m; the current sum is £3.9bn.
"This implies a cut of around £3.2bn in state funding."
This would represent a 79% cut in the teaching grant.So that's that. Only rich students will be able to afford humanities degrees, which will lose all state funding. They certainly won't be coming here.