University applications drop by nearly 9 per cent ahead of higher fees

SCOTLAND’S universities have avoided the worst of a slump in application numbers ahead of the introduction of fees of up to £9,000 a year.

• University attendences have fallen by nearly nine per cent across the UK

• Figure for Scots applying for university has dropped by 1.7 per cent

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Figures released today by UCAS showed the number of students applying to start university this autumn has fallen by 8.9 per cent across the UK.

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 statistics.

While there has been a 10 per cent fall in the number of English students applying to study in their home country, the number of those from south of the Border applying to study in Scotland fell by only 5.5 per cent. The number of Scots applying to study in Scotland fell by 1.7 per cent.

From the start of the next academic year, students will be required to pay new higher-rate tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year. However, Scots and EU students from outside the UK will remain exempt while studying at Scottish universities.

UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “This in-depth analysis of the 2012 applications data shows that, although there has been a reduction in application rates where tuition fees have increased, there has not been a disproportionate effect on more disadvantaged groups.”

Today’s figures give the numbers of people submitting applications before the final 30 June deadline. After this point, students have to enter clearing to gain a place