We've all heard of the desperate pushy parent that will do anything to make sure their offspring gets ahead at school.

Well according to the experts a new, more savage, breed is emerging that refuses to cut the apron strings on their children even when they go to university and start applying for jobs.

So great has the trend become, there's even a name for it - "helicopter parents", because of their tendency to hover over their not-so-little ones like never before.

They are constantly on the phone to them, accompany them to university interviews and open days - and some even attempt to negotiate their salaries when they enter the job market.

Closer parental attachments compared to previous generations is partly thought to be to blame.

Parents are also believed to be increasingly expecting to see a bigger bang for the bucks they plough into their children's education.

Birmingham University's director of student life Kate Dodd agrees there is a growing trend towards more parent involvement.

"We get parents ringing us up saying 'I haven't heard from my son or daughter for a while, can you tell me if they are OK?'," she said.

"They want to know if their son or daughter is sober, attending lectures or sleeping with somebody, but we can't tell them because that would be a breach of confidentiality."

Ms Dodd said the new trend was influenced by parents increasingly feeling more like consumers of higher education - something that has grown since the introduction of tuition top-up fees.

"The term helicopter parent was coined in the States where parents are very much more involved than they are here," she said.

"In the States, universities are getting students when they enrol to sign a disclaimer allowing parents to know what their children are up to.

"Parents are saying to students 'I expect you to do this or I won't help you with your fees'."

Although things have not quite got to that level over here, there are signs the UK is catching up with the US.

For the first time this year Birmingham University held an open day for parents to ask questions about what student life is like.

According to university bosses, there was an overwhelming interest, with more than 1,000 parents turning up.

The university has also started producing a magazine especially for parents called Flying the Nest.

But Ms Dodd stressed it was important parents learned how to let go if their children are to get the most out of their university experience.

"It is a difficult transition from school to university for parents because they are always getting the message from schools that the good parent is the engaged parent and it is a part-nership between school and parent.

"When they go to university their children are adults and our relationship with them is developing the transition between dependent learner and someone who is able to manage their own issues.

"The parent's job is to give their children roots and to give them wings. By the time they get to university it is all about giving them wings and the self-confidence and the trust."

Those that failed to do this, she said, were not doing their children a favour when it came to surviving beyond university.

Dr Paul Redmond, head of the careers and employability service at Liverpool University, said: "Analysts link the rise of helicopter parenting to government policies, which in recent years have led to the gradual marketisation of the university sector.

"Parents are behaving like consumers."