The numbers of UK students applying to start university this autumn has slumped by 8.9%, official figures show. Just over 50,000 fewer students have applied to start degree courses from September, compared to the same point last year, according to the latest UCAS statistics.
In England alone, the numbers of students applying has slumped by 10%, a bigger fall than in Wales (down 2.9%), Scotland (down 2.1%) and Northern Ireland (down 4.5%).
Figures give the numbers of people submitting applications before the final June 30 deadline. After this point, students have to enter clearing to gain a place. From this September, tuition fees for English universities are due to triple to a maximum of £9,000.
Education experts have previously predicted that the fee hike could impact on application numbers, although it has also been suggested that population changes could have an effect. The latest figures also show overall applications, from both home and abroad, are down 7.7%;
Among 18-year-olds alone, the age when teenagers traditionally go to university, the numbers are down by 2.6%, while applications from 19-year-olds are down 12.1%; The number of male applicants is down by 8.6%, and for females it is 7.1%;
Applications from EU students other than those from the UK have fallen by 12.9%, but outside the EU they have risen by 8.5%. The South West and the North East of England have seen the biggest drops, down 12.1% and 11.7% respectively. The West Midlands have seen the smallest fall in England, with applications down 7.4%. (Belfast Telegraph)