The last students to have escaped tuition top-up fees have graduated from Midland universities over the past two weeks.
Hundreds of undergraduates from the universities of Birmingham, Warwick and Aston have collected their degrees before heading off into the wider world.
At Birmingham University, just under 5,000 students graduated during ceremonies that started on Friday July 7 and finished last Friday.
Nearly 3,500 students graduated from Warwick throughout last week while at Aston University 1,300 undergraduates picked up their degrees.
This September sees the introduction of tuition top-up fees tripling the annual amount students pay a year to £3,000.
Critics, including the National Union of Students, say the move will put off candidates from poorer backgrounds.
But the Government argues the system is a fair way of plugging a £10 billion black hole in higher education by making those who benefit from it pay.
Under the new regime, students will pay back fees after graduating as a proportion of their salary when they start earning - rather than forking out upfront.
Maintenance grants have also being re-introduced for candidates from the poorest backgrounds.
Among well-known people gaining honorary doctorates or degrees from Midland universities are singer songwriter Joan Armatrading (Aston), business leader Sir Digby Jones (Warwick) and Neil Morrissey (Staffordshire).