Thousands of students are expected to protest in London later, in a campaign against higher tuition fees and "privatisation" in universities.
They are planning to march to the City of London, where a protest against corporate greed has been taking place outside St Paul's Cathedral.
Last year a wave of student protests ended in violent clashes.
The Met Police said there will be 4,000 officers on duty, with baton rounds - plastic bullets - available.
The student protest, organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, is campaigning against the government's plans for a market-driven higher education system.
"We are being told by a cabinet of millionaires that we will have to pay triple tuition fees," said campaign leader Michael Chessum.
The route of the march is headed towards the financial district of the City of London, where there is already a protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral.
The Occupy London protesters at the cathedral are planning to stage their own events in support of the student marchers.
After the violent scenes that accompanied a series of student protests last year, there is set to be a heavy police presence.
As a warning against any outbreaks of violence a police spokesman said that one of the tactics available is "the authority to deploy baton rounds in extreme circumstances".
This rally is being supported by the National Union of Students, but it is not being organised by them.
As with protests last year, the campaign publicity has used social networking.
There have already been reports of students occupations on campuses ahead of the march.
The protest comes amid continued confusion over tuition fees for 2012.
This week the university access regulator, Offa, revealed that one in five universities now wanted to change their fees and bursaries, even though many students have already applied.
The Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information, which has been asked by the government to explain the fee system, says that its polling suggests widespread confusion among the public about student finance.
It says that this public confusion over fees is a "national scandal".
Universities Minister David Willetts said: "We are putting students at the heart of the system, with a diverse range of providers offering high-quality teaching. Going to university depends on ability not the ability to pay.
"Most new students will not pay upfront, there will be more financial support for those from poorer families and everyone will make lower loan repayments than they do now once they are in well paid jobs.
"Students, like other citizens, have the right to participate in peaceful protest."