Nearly half of Midland freshers starting university in the autumn say they might not have bothered applying if tuition top-up fees were already up and running.
And almost a quarter of students in the region who graduated earlier this year admit they considered quitting their studies to pursue a full time job.
The findings, from NatWest Bank's annual Student Money Matters survey, provides a snapshot of debt concerns faced by those going through higher education.
This year's entrants are the last cohort to benefit from fixed fees of £1,175 a year.
But from September 2006, universities have been given permission to triple fees to up to £3,000 annually to help plug a £10 billion black hole in higher education.
Most universities say they will raise fees to the full amount on all courses.
But the controversial policy has enraged students who claim it will deter candidates from poor backgrounds.
The survey appears to confirm those fears. It found 48 per cent of this year's freshers - sixth formers due to start university in Autumn - saying they would feel less inclined to go to university in 2006.
Nigel Meffen, Midland spokesman for NatWest, said: "Top-up fees seem to be a big put off. What is happening at the moment is a lot of students are becoming far more financially aware and looking at the cost of their education.
"They are saying they are glad they are going this year and they are driven by the fact that salaries are going up.
"But it is fair to say they are thinking twice."
The survey found graduate debt continuing to rise.
This year's graduates left with an average debt of £12,640 nationally - nearly £500 more than last year. The figure has been rising steadily from £3,174 five years ago.
But graduates in the West Midlands appear to have a head-start on those elsewhere. According to NatWest, they left university with an average £11,960 debt, the lowest figure in the country.
However, that contrasts dramatically to a similar study by Barclay's Bank earlier this year which found average graduate debt in the West Midlands the highest nationally at £15,338.
The difference illustrates the necessity to take such surveys with a pinch of salt.
The NatWest study contacted 1,000 people in total - 550 of them from the West Midlands. About half were sixth-formers due to begin university this year, with the rest graduates.
Despite its shortcomings, the survey does appear to demonstrate the blaze of publicity surrounding tuition topup fees has got local sixthformers thinking about their finances.
Those due to start studying this year said they believe it will cost £26,564 for a threeyear course.
They expect to graduate with debts of £12,570.
Proposals to introduce tuition top-up fees just scraped through Parliament, with Tony Blair narrowly surviving a back-bench rebellion that threatened to topple him.
Ministers have attempted to soften the blow of raised fees by making repayment dependent upon salary after graduating, rather than upfront at the start of each year as is currently the case.
Maintenance grants have also being reintroduced for the poorest students and universities required to set up bursaries to help widen participation.
The Government claims a graduate earning £18,000 a year would only need to pay back £5.20 a week.