This is the topic of an interesting article in the Times Higher Education found here. The concern centres on the possible trebling of university fees for English undergraduates. If their debts substantially rise as many fear, then how many will continue to pursue graduate study -- which might increase their debts? The fear is simply that far fewer students will pursue graduate study in the near future. Only those from more wealthy backgrounds might then take up study after graduation.
My own view is that everything is uncertain and we need to know more details from the government and from universities, notably what precisely the universities will charge (and be able to keep rather than pay to the government in the form of a levy). Several proposals have been aired with some looking likely and others seemingly ruled out, but it would be very helpful to know more about the specifics of what will be rolled out before making further comment.
That said, I suspect that graduate study in the UK will remain strong and especially if international student recruitment remains steady. In the United States, we find higher fees all often paid up front at both undergraduate and graduate level with graduate study remaining strong. The culture is very different in the UK and it will be interesting to see what happens, in fact.
While I do not at all support the higher education proposals and believe all university fees should be abolished, I also believe that graduate study will continue to be in good health post-2012. Whether my prediction is correct, only time can tell . . . . .