English universities want to increase the number of their students from outside the EU at a faster rate than those from within, a report says.
Overseas students pay more than those from the UK and EU
The Higher Education Funding Council for England found they wanted 9.8% more students in total over four years, but 26.7% more from outside the EU.
Universities expected income from this group to rise by 44.1% to £1.62bn.
The report comes amid fears of cuts in places for UK undergraduates in favour of full fee-paying overseas students.
From autumn 2006, English universities will charge up to £3,000 a year in tuition fees to undergraduates from the UK and other EU countries.
However, those from elsewhere already pay the full costs, which average around £7,000 to £8,000.
Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, says overseas students are necessary to help with overall costs.
Hefce's figures, covering the period from 2003-04 to 2007-08, show the number of full-time UK and EU students is expected to rise from 776,794 to 834,756.
The number of students from overseas is predicted to grow from 166,369 to 210,865.
At the same time, fees from this group are expected to rise from 8.3% of total higher education income to 9.9%.
According to Hefce, the total number of students in higher education - including part-time, undergraduates, postgraduate and overseas - will go from 1,751,415 to 1,922,443.
A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: "Exactly how universities plan for their future is a matter for them. This is not an 'either/or' situation.
"Our universities have already demonstrated that they can handle substantial expansion without having to restrict opportunities for UK students and we have every reason to believe that this will continue."
On Monday, the Home Office announced that fast-track visa fees for overseas students looking to continue their courses would rise to a maximum £500 a year from April.
Those who choose the cheaper postal option will see the cost increase from £155 to £250.
However, this is still £85 less than the £335 charged to non-student applicants.