Postgraduate education has become like an "exclusive golf club" that is open only to the very rich, new research will warn on Wednesday.

Studying for a qualification beyond a degree is now out of reach of most people, says the report by the CentreForum think-tank, and raises concerns about the current funding system for those who want to continue their education.

It condemns the Government's loans scheme open to postgraduate students as "breathtakingly inadequate" and calls for the system to be overhauled.

"Postgraduate education in Britain is like an exclusive golf club," it argues. "Home graduates who lack the means to pay course fees upfront need not apply. There is no undergraduate style loans system to ensure fair access, and only very limited funding available.