Further education leaders are calling for a Government review of funding of student transport after a survey revealed that it is costing colleges Pounds 15 million a year.
College coffers are supplying an ever-increasing share of travel costs as local authorities slash their own spending, according to the Association for Colleges study.
Most authorities have changed their policy significantly since colleges left their control in 1993, and the majority look set to make further cuts in the next financial year.
The trend is alarming colleges, since availability of transport is seen as a crucial factor in maintaining recruitment and student access to further education.
The AFC wants further education funding to be increased centrally in a bid to take account of the increased burden.