The numbers of UK students applying to start university this autumn has fallen by 8.9 percent, according to UCAS.
Just over 50,000 fewer students have applied to start degree courses from September, compared to the same time last year.
In England, the numbers of students applying has dropped by 10 percent, a bigger fall than in Wales which has seen a 2.9 percent drop, Scotland is down by 2.1 percent and Northern Ireland 4.5 percent.
From this September, tuition fees for English universities are due to triple to a maximum of £9,000.
Education experts had predicted that the rise in fees could impact on application numbers, although it has also been suggested that population changes could have an effect.
The report also reveals that young people in disadvantaged areas are still almost three times less likely to apply to university than their richer peers.
UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: "This in-depth analysis of the 2012 applications data shows that although there has been a reduction in application rates where tuition fees have increased, there has not been a disproportionate effect on more disadvantaged groups."
Universities Minister David Willetts said: "The proportion of English school leavers applying to university is the second highest on record and people are still applying. Last year 30,000 students applied after this point.
"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 for their future."
Shadow universities minister Shabana Mahmood said: "The UCAS application figures today show that the decision of the Tory-led Government to treble tuition fees to £9,000 is hitting young people and their aspirations."
Monday's figures give the numbers of people submitting applications before the final June 30 deadline. After this point students have to enter clearing to gain a place.