In 1999, 388,000 people applied to study full-time, compared with 398,000 in 1997. Mature students were most likely to be discouraged with aplications falling by a fifth. But the number of under-21-year-olds applying increased almost 6,000. Part-time applications increased by 7,000 between 1997 and 1998, with rises in all age groups. Figures are not yet available for 1999.
Compiled by Jon Slater from Hansard. Parliamentary questions can be found at www.parliament.uk