A late surge in applications has still left universities with 23,000 fewer UK applicants than at this time last year.
Latest figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show there are 7.6 per cent fewer domestic applicants than in January 2011. This compares with a 15.1 per cent drop-off in November.
Overall, the number of applicants wanting to go to university in 2012 has fallen by 22,000 – or 6.4 per cent – to 321,908 but the number of applicants from overseas has risen by 13 per cent.
Nicola Dandridge, the chief executive of Universities UK, the body which represents vice-chancellors, said: "It is reassuring to see that the numbers of applications are recovering."
Universities are braced for a drop in student numbers as fees soar in England to up to £9,000 a year this September. The final deadline for university applications is 15 January.
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