Students are paying up to Pounds 15 per term for extra university courses on key skills.
The University of York encourages students to take the courses through a scheme called the York Award, which has ran for a year.
They have to give evidence of skills achieved in their degree courses, work experience and outside activities. They are asked to identify skill gaps in their numeracy, information technology, communication, finance, time management, negotiation, leadership and project management.
Courses are run by university staff or private companies, such as Railtrack, PriceWaterhouse Coopers and HSBC, for free. But IT courses cost Pounds 15 a term and foreign languages Pounds 43 a year.
Claire Ainsley, president of York Student Union, said: "Obviously it would be much better if the university could fund it properly so students wouldn't have to pay. They are excellent courses."
She said the benefits would not reach poorer students and people with heavy work commitments and little time for extra study.
Robert Partridge, coordinator of the York Award, said feedback was "extremely positive" and other universities were looking at how the model could be adapted.