Universities Minister David Willetts
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David Willetts on drop in university applications

University applications from UK students for the first year of higher tuition fees are down by 8.7%, according to figures from the admissions service.

With fees rising to up to £9,000 per year, the impact has been biggest for England's universities - down by 9.9%.

But Universities Minister David Willetts maintained that applications among 18-year-olds in England were down by about 1%.

He said this was an indication school leavers had got the message that they did not need to pay the fees upfront.

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