A recent ACAS survey revels that 46,413 fewer English students applied for university this year than they did last year.
Total UK applications fell by 7.7%, but the biggest drop was in England where students now have to bear the full cost of their university education.
The government commented that many people still see uni as a good investment, but the drop does show - according to UCU academics - the "recklessness" of increasing tuition fees to £9,000.
David Willetts, Universities Minister, said that at this point last year over fifty thousand applications were put in, therefore it wasn't too late to apply to university, adding: "Even with a small reduction in applications, this will still be a competitive year like any other as people continue to understand that university remains a good long-term investment in their future.”
Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union says: "It should come as little surprise that applications in England are hardest-hit as a result of the government making it the most expensive country in the world in which to gain a public degree education.
"The number of older people being deterred from applying is particularly concerning. If we want to compete with other leading economies and produce highly-skilled workers we simply cannot afford to have a system that puts people off university.
"Erecting punitive financial barriers is not the way to encourage the best and brightest to get on. Do ministers really want to return us to a time when money, not ability, mattered most for success?"
Because of the double-dip recession, graduate jobs are suffering, so many graduates are seriously weighing up their options. With 320,000 students set to graduate this year alone, there's a serious shortfall in the number of graduate positions available, which is perhaps one of the reasons why apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular alternative route into employment.
An apprentice can expect the kind of on-the-job training - and the work experience - that employers are desperately looking for, without having to face the mountain of student debt that automatically comes with graduation ... and the distinct possibility of the offer of full-time employment at the end of the apprenticeship.