Exeter University has estimated that it will have to charge students £7,000 a year to make up for cuts to university funding in England.
The government proposes that tuition fees should rise from 2012 and ministers insist their plans offer a "fair deal for students".
The plan is for a lower cap at £6,000, with universities able to charge up to £9,000 - triple the current cap.
The university said it would decide on graduate contributions in the new year.
The proposal is the government's response to the independent review of higher education funding by former BP chief Lord Browne.
An Exeter University spokesman said: "Our calculations show we would need to charge about £7,000 to cover the cuts coming our way.
"However, we won't be making any decisions on a graduate contribution until the new year."
He added that the university would "continue to be successful".
"Obviously it's very important for the city and the wider South West that the university is able to at least cover the lost revenue since we support around 6,000 jobs and contribute £400m a year to the economy.
"As long as Browne's recommendations are passed by MPs we are actually very optimistic about the future."
Students from Exeter University joined thousands of others in London on Wednesday to protest against the cuts.
Nova Gresham, regional officer of the University and College Union, said: "Politicians have consistently let students down over the years. However, these proposals go too far.
"If implemented, the government's plans will completely change the landscape of further and higher education.
"They would represent the final nail in the coffin of affordable university education and the end of genuine choice of degree for thousands of people."