Drop in the number applying follows sharp increase in applications last year in attempt to beat 2012 rise in fees.
According to the university admissions service, the number of UK students applying to universities to study starting from 2012 has fallen by 15%. Such a fall has been predicted as in 2012 the tuition fees will raise to £9,000 per a year. Figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) show that 133,357 applicants compared to 157,116 have applied to universities this year.
Universities have worried that trebling tuition fees up to £9,000 will prevent thousands of students from studying. Students can pay tuition fees with a student loan which they start repaying after graduation when begin to earn more than £21,000.
It is suggested that the fall in number of applicants this year is due to surpass of students who applied in 2010 in anticipation of the raise of the tuition fees. Last year the number of applicants from the UK was 139,875.
However, Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, considers said it is too early to predict how many applicants would be at university in 2012. She believes that it is unfair to compare the number of students applying to universities this year with figures from the last year as the previous figures were affected by students willing to avoid the tuition fees coming into force in 2012.
"Current 2012 figures are actually very similar to figures at the same point in 2010," Piatt said. The figures show the fall in applicants applying to start studying in 2012 is almost three times what it was when tuition fees were trebled last time, in 2006.