Budding humanities students may not need to dig deeper into their pockets, with the future of the Morrison government's fee reforms unclear.
A vote in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon showed a lack of majority support for the idea.
The proposed laws would more than double the cost of some humanities courses in a bid to encourage people to enrol in courses the government argues lead to higher employability.
Science and maths would be among the degrees made cheaper, along with psychology, agriculture, environmental sciences and health.
A Greens bid to have the bill referred to a committee for an inquiry failed in the Senate because of an even vote.
If senators vote the same way for the draft laws they would fail.
Cross bench senators Jacqui Lambie, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff sided with the Greens and Labor, leaving the committee vote tied.
Greens education spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi said the laws must go to an inquiry.
"Less than a week has passed since the final legislation was made public by the government," she said.
"This is a once-in-a-generation change to university fees and funding. To try to push it through without an inquiry would be autocratic and shameful."
Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says the government is hiding from scrutiny by voting against an inquiry into the bill.
The draft legislation is being debated in the lower house.