Record numbers of students are applying to the most competitive courses and universities according to figures from UCAS. Courses at Oxbridge and medical courses have seen the largest increase in applicants; almost 57,000 applied to Oxford or Cambridge or to the dentistry, medicine, or veterinary science courses before the 15 October deadline.This is a 2% increase over applications for the same courses at the same time last year. There was a drop in applications last year. However, figures show that this trend is likely to change as students target degree subjects and universities leading to well-paid careers, and expect better value for money in return for increased fees.Dr Julia Paolitto, speaking for the University, said, “over the last couple of years applications to Oxford have held steady at just over 17,000 – prior to that we saw a significant increase in the number of applicants. Importantly, while applications for 2012 entry went down significantly across the sector, Oxford saw virtually no decline in applications, and has held steady again this year.”Dr Paolitto continued, “Application figures suggest that potential applicants have recognised that Oxford offers a fantastic, world-class education and is incredibly affordable as well.”Scottish applications, despite large subsidies, were down by 1%. Applications from Wales dropped by 3.9%, and those from Northern Ireland increased of 2%.Demand from European students, who pay the same fees as British students, was up by 1.8% while applications from students outside the EU also rose by 5.1% despite having to pay considerably higher fees.