Fall in early applications to UK universities

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Fewer people have applied early for UK universities than at this point last year.

Statistics from Ucas show a 3% fall in applications compared with 2012.

Applications from students in the UK are down by 4% as a whole, while those from outside the European Union are up 7%.

The main deadline is in January, so final applications might show a different pattern, although in some years patterns have stayed the same.

Applications from other parts of the EU are roughly the same as they were at this time last year.

People applying to Oxbridge or for medicine or dentistry had to apply by the middle of October, but for most people the key deadline is 15 January.

So far 140, 890 people have applied to study at universities in the UK from next autumn.

This time last year, 144,980 had done so. By the January deadline for courses which started this autumn, there had been nearly 560,000 applications.

This year's applications are down 4% among people living in England, 7% for those in Northern Ireland, 2% for Scotland and 6% for Wales.

Final demand

A spokesman for Ucas said early applications were not a good guide to final patterns.

"In recent cycles applicant totals have increased by around 300% between the November interim comparison point and the January deadline," he said.

"The increase between this point and the January deadline has varied each cycle."

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "With the main deadline for applications in mid-January, the first figures in November are never a particularly useful indicator of final demand.

"It is very early in the applications cycle and, as we have seen in recent years, applicants are increasingly using the whole applications period, and applying right up to the 15 January deadline."

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