At least 32 universities in the UK now have confirmed cases of COVID-19, and another one has suspected cases.
More than 640 coronavirus cases have been identified among students and staff since universities reopened, according to data collected by Sky News up to 27 September.
Manchester Metropolitan University has asked around 1,700 students to self-isolate after 127 cases were confirmed.
The University of Glasgow, the worst affected, has 172 confirmed cases, with 600 students self-isolating.
It has agreed to refund students one month of rent and provide a £50 payment for food. Food parcels to those in isolation will also be increased, along with the provision of cleaning materials, bedding and towels.
NHS Lothian confirmed that 120 students have tested positive at Edinburgh Napier University, with another five or more at Queen Margaret University and the University of Edinburgh combined.
Another suspected COVID-19 outbreak at Parker House in Dundee led to the quarantine of its 500 student residents from Abertay University and Dundee University.
Three of those students have tested positive so far.
At the University of Liverpool, the tally of COVID-19 cases has risen from 87 to 108, according to the University and College Union (UCU).
In most of the affected universities, the proportion of students testing positive is a small part of the overall population.
The UCU warned the outbreaks seen predominantly in Scotland - where the university term starts earlier than the rest of the UK - could be a preview of what will happen elsewhere if measures to limit the spread of coronavirus are not taken.
UCU's Scotland official Mary Senior said staff at the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews - which have confirmed cases - have been pressured to offer a "substantial amount" of teaching hours in person.
"This is a real mess," she told Sky News. "The Scottish government should have had much clearer guidelines, with remote learning as the default position."
James Yucel, a student at the University of Glasgow, implored the UK government not to move courses online after students have already moved to be near campuses.
He has spent thousands on living expenses since he moved to Glasgow, expecting his course to be partly based on campus.
He and other students are campaigning for a 15% reduction in their tuition fees amid a "mass exodus" of students leaving.
He told Sky News: "I wish I was told before I put a £1,500 deposit with my flatmates on a property, before we spent three months living there, before we spent most of our student loans on living fees - it seems like an incredible display of incompetence."
The National Union of Students said the government was "gambling with students' lives" by encouraging them to return to university campuses, where the virus can spread quickly in student halls.
The suggestion by a UK government scientific adviser that students may have to remain on campus over Christmas if there are COVID-19 outbreaks has been described as "absolutely shameful" by Larissa Kennedy, the union's president.
"Students are being trapped - often in shoebox housing, where they're sometimes sharing bathrooms and kitchens with 15 other people," she told Sky News. "This is just not feasible.
"We need a plan for the safe exit of students who have the right to leave."
The 32 universities with confirmed cases are:
University of Aberdeen
Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
University of Dundee
Abertay University, Dundee
University of St Andrews, Fife
University of Stirling
University of Glasgow
Glasgow Caledonian University
Edinburgh Napier University
University of Edinburgh
Queen Margaret University, East Lothian
University of Sunderland
York St John University
University of Leeds
University of Hull
University of Liverpool
University of Salford
Manchester Metropolitan University
De Montfort University, Leicester
Aston University, Birmingham
University of Warwick
Oxford Brookes University
University of Kent
University of Portsmouth
University of Exeter
University of Bath
University of the West of England, Bristol
University of South Wales