The gap between the number of working class boys and girls attending university widened in the first year of the tuition fee hike, new research has shown.
The findings show that in the 40 per cent of English neighbourhoods where teenagers are the least likely to go to university, around 1,700 fewer boys aged 19 and under were accepted on to degree courses in 2012 than in 2011.
The study by the Independent Commission on Fees analysed UCAS data on the numbers of students accepted on to university courses between 2009 and 2012.
In 2012, English universities were allowed to charge up to a maximum of £9,000 in tuition fees.
The number of UK students applying to start university this autumn has dropped by 8.9% compared with the same point last year, latest Ucas figures show.