In a joint statement, Universities UK and GuildHE said they would work with their members to provide students with more clarity on what they could expect to pay for things like field trips, lab equipment and art materials.
The NUS – which has campaign for greater information about additional course costs - welcomed the statement, which was agreed following discussions between the organisations.
In a similar move the Quality Assurance Agency this week also published guidance for institutions to encourage them to make clear all additional course costs to applicants.
It comes after an NUS day of action earlier this month that saw thousands of students asking universities to absorb essential costs within tuition fees and offer means-tested support for non-essentials.
Liam Burns, president of the NUS, said: “The extra costs of higher education have for years left many students struggling to keep up and this will be welcome reassurance.
“It is unacceptable to charge students for essential parts of their course when they are already paying up to £9,000 in fees.
“Universities must be transparent about non-essential costs and make a commitment to students that there will not be further additions throughout the course.”
He added: “Great campaigning work by students means that universities are starting to come clean and I hope that the government will follow suit and come clean on their plans for restructuring the higher education sector.”