University applications increase
Applications by English students to UK universities have risen slightly this year, official figures show.
The latest Ucas statistics show that almost 600 more students have applied to start courses in 2013, compared to 2012.
In total, 36,051 students living in England have already applied, compared to 35,455 who applied for courses starting this autumn - an increase of 1.7%.
Students have been able to submit applications for next year for all universities from early September, and those applying for medical courses and Oxford and Cambridge had to apply by October 15.
The figures give the number of people who applied for courses with an October 15 deadline.
This is the first time that Ucas has published the data this way. In previous years, the figures have included the numbers of people that have applied so far for other university courses, which have a January deadline.
The figures show that while applications from England are up, in other parts of the UK there has been a fall. Applications from Scottish students are down by 1%, while those from Welsh applicants are down 3.9%. There has been a 2% rise in applications from students in Northern Ireland.
Outside of the UK, applications from EU students are up by 1.8% and those from applicants outside the EU are up 5.1%.
Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: "These figures for applicants to Oxford, Cambridge, medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses are encouraging. Not only are they up against last year but also on 2011. Although this is a subset of applicants for higher education at the highest levels of achievement, I remain optimistic about overall demand in the 2013 cycle."
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union said: "It is encouraging that there has been a slight increase in the number of applications, compared with last year. However, a drop in applications last year was predicted as students rushed to avoid the new pernicious fees regime. What is concerning is that the numbers of English students applying are down on both 2011 and 2010."