The full picture of the UK's changing university scene after a record 11.9% drop in university applications for next year became clear last night.
Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service showed the drop in women candidates was almost twice as high as among men.
In addition, the overall picture showed it was courses in the creative arts and public services, such as education and nursing, which were suffering the biggest drop in numbers.
The 11.9% fall in UK applications came as part of an overall drop in applications of 9%.
Applications from overseas students eligible for full-cost fees of up to £20,000 a year have risen by 8.8%.
University vice-chancellors and ministers were quick to stress it was too early to draw firm conclusions from the figures. However, there was a chorus of condemnation from students, lecturers' leaders and opposition MPs.