Chiefs of universities and colleges are worried about the cost and practicalities of a unified quality regime, it emerged this week.
Responses to the first report of the joint planning group, which is paving the way for a single quality agency, indicate "widespread scepticism" that the proposed system will be cheaper to run.
They reveal concerns about the "additional burden" of planned self-evaluation by institutions. Many vice chancellors and principals are dubious about the feasibility of building current work on academic standards into the scheme.
But Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, has described the proposals as "most encouraging". She has urged the planning group to integrate the setting and attainment of standards into the new system.
The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals is considering the report and Mrs Shephard's view at a meeting today.