And there is evidence they are increasingly demanding to sit in on course interviews.

Officials at the University of the West of England revealed the trend for a small but increasing number of parents to over-stay their welcome in halls of residence.

Keith Hicks, head of communications, said: 'They say, 'I'd like to live here.'

The trouble is just a handful do.

'We do our best to accommodate these mothers, but we do try to discourage it. University is after all about independent living as much as independent learning.'

He added: 'Accommodation is now not far off Holiday Inn standard. You can sleep comfortably on the floor, whereas previously you would not have been able to.

'But you can see students' eyes visibly rolling.'

Even once home, parents have been known to ring accommodation staff at night complaining about problems in their children's digs.

University dons have warned that youngsters are becoming 'infantilised'.

Surveys suggest that growing numbers of phone inquiries to universities come from parents who are now allowed to act as their children's agents when they apply to universities, negotiating places and taking decisions on their behalf.

It also emerged that universities are increasingly providing removal staff to unload cars and put students' belongings in their rooms.

It is a far cry from a generation ago when students arrived by train with basics including a tin-opener.

U.S. psychologist Dr Madeline Levine has claimed that children of over-involved parents are three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.