The report by the Independent Commission on Fees shows that the fall in applicant numbers in England has not been replicated in other parts of the UK.
Both Scotland and Wales have seen a rise (1% and 0.3% respectively) while Northern Ireland saw 0.8% fewer applicants.
The report concludes: "The decline in English applicants from the 2010 level was 8.8%, as compared to a nearly-constant level from the other home nations across this period. This may indicate a link between the level of tuition fees and the numbers of applicants.
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