A Scottish government minister has told MSPs some universities are considering delaying the start of the autumn term.
The University of Aberdeen has already confirmed its new academic year will begin two weeks later.
Higher and Further Education Secretary Richard Lochhead said most universities were waiting for detailed government advice before taking a decision.
He told a Holyrood committee the Scottish government recognised the hardship being faced by many students.
Scottish universities have warned they could lose more than £500m between now and next year due to the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Lochhead said the Scottish government would not be making a recommendation on the start of the next academic year and that universities would be left to choose their own way forward.
He told the education and skills committee that Scotland’s universities would be open after the summer in “some shape or form”.
This might involve staggering course start dates or moving terms by a few weeks.
Mr Lochhead also made a plea for further support from the UK government.
He added: “If assistance from the UK government is not forthcoming soon, then the very sectors we rely on to get us through the pandemic and to support the country’s recovery will be severely weakened and diminished.”