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(satire – barely)

According to unexpected figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), there has been a mystifying 10% fall in applications from UK students to start studies in September after a hike in university fees, but the government has admitted it is completely confounded as to why this might be happening.

The proportion of UK students applying to start degrees in the autumn will strangely drop by a baffling 10% when fees rise to up to £9,000 this year – the steepest fall in university applications for 30 years.

A government spokesperson said the reasons for the unexpected drop in applications were inexplicable but were most probably due to the weather:

We have to admit we have no idea why students are suddenly more reluctant to go to university this year when the fees are triple the price of what they were before. We are looking into the possibility that it’s because the wrong kind of rain has been falling.

Experts are perplexed by the fact that, by this summer, there will be an estimated 70,000 fewer applications from UK-born students than there were last summer when the fees were a third of the price – a puzzling 10% drop. This would inexplicably represent the biggest fall in the proportion of UK students since the 1970s when the fees were either free or much much cheaper.

A spokesperson for Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, dismissed as ‘laughable’ suggestions that the drop in applications may have something to do with the higher fees:

The Deputy Prime Minister is particularly surprised by the drop in university applications as he has consistently argued that tripling the fees would clearly make them more affordable. It’s probably all Gordon Brown’s fault.

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