Durham University has announced plans to charge more than £9,000 a year for tuition fees - before the Government has officially given the move the green light.
Under proposals still to be laid before Parliament, institutions offering high-quality teaching would be able to raise fees in line with inflation in autumn 2017.
Durham, Kent and Royal Holloway universities are already listing tuition fees on their websites as £9,250 for students starting undergraduate courses next September.
There are references to the fee changes being subject to "inflationary change" or subject to Government confirmation.
Sixth-formers intending to go to university next year will begin applying for courses after the summer break.
In a statement, Durham University said: "On 25 May 2016, the Minister of State for Universities and Science announced to Parliament that an inflationary rate of 2.8% would apply to uplifts in home/EU tuition fee caps for 2017-18 where higher education providers achieve a rating of 'meets expectations' under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
"Subsequently, the Office for Fair Access (Offa) asked universities to confirm their provisional fees in their 2017/18 Access Agreement.
"Durham University has received confirmation from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills that we meet the first-year expectations of the TEF.
"The University Executive Committee and the Finance & General Purposes Committee therefore agreed and reported to University Council last week the University's intention to implement an inflationary fee increase.
"To meet our obligations under Competition and Markets Authority legislation we are required to provide comprehensive and transparent information to applicants, including in relation to fees, on the University website and at pre-application Open Days (which in our case were held in June 2016).
"To ensure that we are CMA compliant this requires indicating that we intend to set a fee of £9,250 to incoming home/EU undergraduate students in 2017/18."
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) said: "Universities advertising increased fees before the law has even been changed is just another blight on the sorry debacle that is the Government's plan for higher education."