A council leader says universities should pay an annual tax of up to £200 per student to help the local authority.
Tim Warren of Bath & North East Somerset Council said "universities should be able to cope with paying... out of the £9,000 they get."
Students are exempt from council tax.
Bath University said such a 'tax' could still affect students as they would "pay more either directly or indirectly through university fees".
Bath Spa University said: "It is important to acknowledge that students cost the local authority very little: over 80% of the council's budget is spent on children or adults requiring social care, which doesn't apply to students."
The University of Bath said it contributed about "£300m to Bath & North East Somerset's economy each year, including £147.5m of local spending by students, boosting the economy".
Mr Warren said students themselves already paid enough and had loans.
He offered to help both universities with their budgets to help them find £200 per student.
The combined number of undergraduates and postgraduates attending both Bath-based universities totals more than 25,000.