Students face record competition for a place at Midland universities this autumn as thousands of extra hopefuls apply before tuition fees rise.
According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions (Ucas), applications for Aston University climbed 29.1 per cent this year while those for Birmingham shot up 9.1 per cent to 38,606 from 35,379.
The University of Central England saw a 13.6 per cent rise and Coventry University recorded a 7.1 per cent increase.
This year's scramble for places is believed to have been triggered by a rise in tuition fees in 2006 from £1,150 a year to £3,000.
And increased competition has been made worse by a late amendment to the Higher Education Bill which has allowed students who intend to take a gap year and gain places by August 1 to avoid paying the fee increase.
Birmingham University's academic registrar Dave Hall said the institution might respond by offering a fewer proportion of applicants offers, but that the number of students would not rise.
He said: "We can't afford to overshoot our targets because we are not funded for the extra students. The undergraduate population we sustain at the moment is the maximum we can have with the resources we receive."
Mr Hall believes the surge in applications was partly down to students misunderstanding tuition fees.
"Students will actually be much better off with the new system because the tuition fees will act like a tax when they start earning money and there are scholarships that will be available to them," he said.
Prof Graham Hooley, Aston University's senior pro-vice chancellor, said: "The message
got through to students-that tuition fees can be paid after a youngster graduates and that there are many bursaries on offer."
Ucas claim an extra 31,453 potential students are seeking places on degree courses this October, which brings the total to 384,624 from 353,171 last year.
The organisation also recorded a surprise decline in applications to British universities from non-EU students, particularly from Chinese students.
The number of Chinese students, who pay fees of up to £20,000 a year, has dropped by 26 per cent this year to 3,203.
Wolverhampton University recorded a 20 per cent drop in interest from Chinese students this year with applications falling from approximately 400 to 300.