Degree apprenticeships, encompassing university and work, are "on the verge of significant success", says a report.
Almost 5,000 people will begin degree apprenticeships in 2017-18, nearly eight times as many as when the scheme launched in 2015, says Universities UK.
The scheme was already reaching people who would not otherwise have gone to university, the report found.
But more needed to be done to communicate the benefits, said UUK President Dame Julia Goodfellow.
The degree apprenticeship scheme operates across England and Wales, although people can apply from throughout the UK.