University and college recruitment has risen slightly in Scotland but the increase has been dwarfed by record rises in England and Northern Ireland, according to Ucas.
Scottish recruitment increased to 42,600 in Scotland, up 600 students (1.5%) on last year but 500 below the record intake in 2009, the university and college admission service said.
This compares with rises of 7.1% in England, 9.2% in Northern Ireland and 5.7% in Wales.
Ucas said the results confound predictions that the appetite for higher education would decline following the rise in tuition fees elsewhere in the UK, and for non-Scottish UK students studying north of the border.
Scotland, which offers fee-free education to its own citizens and EU students from outside the UK, saw the smallest rise in admissions.
Some 495,596 students were accepted to full time undergraduate courses across the UK, 6.6% up and the highest total ever recorded.
Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “Predictions of a reduced appetite for higher education following the rise in tuition fees were premature.
“With 19-year-old admissions up by 18% in England, we can see that the dip in demand in 2012 was perhaps a pause for thought. More of those who were 18 in 2012 have now started university than those who were 18 in either 2010 or 2011.
“Greater competition amongst institutions meant that aspiring students were able to choose from a record number of offers and were more likely than ever to gain a place on their preferred course, including through clearing which was a genuine market place for all types of courses and institutions this year.
“The higher education sector has been particularly successful in attracting and enrolling applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds in 2013 and I welcome this further reduction in the gap between rich and poor.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Today’s report shows a welcome increase in both Scots being accepted for study in this country and elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish Government has already taken action to ensure access to university is based on ability to learn, not the ability to pay, by abolishing tuition fees for Scots students going to university in Scotland.
“We have increased the number of funded places this year for Scottish and EU students, and we are investing over £1 billion annually to maintain academic excellence in Scotland’s universities. We are now building on all of this by introducing, what NUS themselves call, the best package of student support in the UK.”