Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Applications to universities drop 18,000 in a year

University applications from UK students showed a further slump yesterday in the face of increased admission fees.

The latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show a drop of 18,047 (5.6 per cent) on the previous year – when figures again fell after the introduction of fees of up to £9,000 a year.

The drop off in applications is most marked from English students (6.5 per cent) and Welsh (11.7 per cent). The number of international students to apply rose by 0.8 per cent.

The results follow a report in yesterday's i about the slump in applications from males. It prompted the Universities minister David Willetts to suggest white, working class boys should be targeted for recruitment by universities in the same way as students from disadvantaged areas and ethnic minorities.

Bill Rammell, vice-chancellor of Bedfordshire University and a former Labour Higher Education Minister, said: "The generation-long understanding of the benefits of higher education could be ebbing away."