University applications from young people in England and Wales have risen this year after falling in 2002, official figures show.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) said applications from under-21 year olds in England rose by 1.5% and by 1.1% in Wales.
However, those from Scottish students, who do not have to pay tuition fees upfront, increased by 2.9% by the June 30 closing date.
The figures came out a day after the government announced that responsibility for student funding in Wales was being handed to the Welsh Assembly.
That raised the prospect of only England imposing tuition fees of up to £3,000 a year on its undergraduates from 2006, if the proposal is passed by parliament.
Northern Ireland applications from the under-21 age group went up 3.6%, while UK universities as a whole saw a near-11% rise in interest from lucrative foreign students, who pay full fees.
Ucas said Nigeria and China led the way, with applications up 21.5%, 71.4% and 36.2% respectively.
Acting chief executive Anthony McClaran said the rise in overseas applications was encouraging.
He added: "Despite significant competition from elsewhere, UK higher education, with its great diversity of courses and universities and colleges, continues to attract international applicants in ever greater numbers."
In total, 437,615 people applied to go to university in the UK this year, up 15,041, or 3.6%, on 2002.