The London School Of Economics has become the first elite university to announce that it will charge less than £9,000 in fees.
From the next academic year undergraduates at the LSE will be charged £8,500, a move that the university claims sends "a clear message that LSE welcomes students from all backgrounds."
The LSE's Academic Board voted in favour of charging £8,000 but the final decision rested with university's decision-making Council which opted for £8,500.
While the LSE students' union said it was "disappointed" that the fees were not lower, a top academic has welcomed the announcement.
Ken Lucid, head of history at Maidenhead University, said: "Oh well done the LSE! Bravo! Five hundred quid off the maximum. What's that? £166 a term. Wow!
"That's going to make a huge difference to the the type of kids we get through here, I don't think. It's not even enough to get on the tube every day, is it?
"We can't afford to charge anything like that - and my staff still has to give the kids wads of paper so they can do their assignments!
"Smug sods. No, I never wanted to work there."
Russell and 1994 Group research-intensive universities will charge £9,000 - Birkbeck, University of London, is the only member to have said it may charge less than the maximum.