A state commission of inquiry has been set up in Chechnya into allegations by students at Groznyy University that they have to pay unofficial "fees" to pass their exams.
Fourth-year students have launched a boycott of lectures and are demanding the dismissal of some faculty members.
One student activist, Ibragim Audadayev, alleged on television that professors charged more than 500 roubles (£10) per exam for law.
Similar rates applied in the economics department and medical school, but the humanities were cheaper. Mr Audadayev said students with wealthy parents could graduate without turning up for classes or exams.
The students began their campaign by appealing to the dean and rector.
Under federal Russian law, they claim, if students in one class sign a petition to have a lecturer dismissed, this is sufficient grounds for replacing him. They collected the necessary signatures but claim the rector took no action.
A delegation of medical students then went to the republic's committee for youth affairs. They asked officials to forward a letter of complaint to the head of the republic's administration, Akhmad Kadyrov.
Mr Kadyrov promised that if the allegations were substantiated, the guilty parties would be brought to justice.