The University of NSW will require a minimum entrance score to enrol in any of its courses next year, breaking step with the government's expansion agenda.

UNSW will restrict entry to school-leavers with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 80 or above, Vice Chancellor Fred Hilmer has told staff. The school is concerned that the quality of degrees may be slipping as universities rush to enrol as many undergraduates as they can take to maximise government funding.

The announcement coincides with active debate over the Government's target to increase the proportion of people under 35 with a degree to 40 per cent by 2025. Some are arguing that overly expedient growth and slipping ATARs are compromising quality.

In the past four years an additional 190,000 students have flooded on to university campuses nationally, including an extra 2700 at UNSW.

Ross Willing, president of the UNSW student representative council, said the university's move would exclude capable students, saying: “I have friends who got in well below the proposed 80 cut-off who have contributed a lot, not just to the university community but done well academically too.”

“Setting a minimum of 80 is not likely to greatly change who gets into UNSW, especially after the effects of bonus points are taken into account," Grattan Institute higher education expert Andrew Norton said.