Students appear to want more for their money as recent figures show applications for medicine and Oxbridge courses have increased since 2009 despite tuition fee rises.
The latest statistics released by UCAS show this year, around 6,200 more students applied to Oxbridge or to medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses than in 2009, when the fees were still £3,000 per term.
More than 36,000 students living in England have already applied, a rise of 1.7% compared to last year.
Students may feel they want more for their money if they are paying the full £9,000 in fees. The three courses are infamous for working students hard, with 9 to 5 lectures and placements.
In comparison, courses in the humanities subjects have considerably less contact hours. At Cardiff University, for example, students in their second and third years will have around five hours of lectures a week. This equates to approximately 115 hours a year, including two reading weeks, exam periods and holidays.
As the Russell Group university is charging £9,000 for a course in BA English Literature, students will be forking out £78.26 per hour of lectures.
A spokeswoman for Oxford University said the institution offered more financial support for low-income students than any other UK university, and still charges the same tuition fees.
"An Oxford degree offers significant added value on top of the normal lectures, labs and seminars that students at a normal university would get.
"In addition to college provision, Oxford students enjoy a range of benefits unlike those at most other universities.
"Oxford’s facilities and college provision keep living costs down, as does guaranteed accommodation – meaning Oxford compares favourably with any other university.
"Even in one of the toughest economic climates in recent memory, the number of employers looking to recruit Oxford graduates has steadily risen, and they come to Oxford to recruit graduates of all subjects. Oxford undergraduates who go on to full-time jobs have a median salary 20% higher than the UK average six months after graduating."
UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said she was "optimistic".
"These figures for applicants to Oxford, Cambridge, medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses are encouraging.
"Not only are they up against last year but also on 2011. Although this is a subset of applicants for higher education at the highest levels of achievement, I remain optimistic about overall demand in the 2013 cycle."
Students have been able to submit applications for next year for all universities from early September, and those applying for medical courses and Oxford and Cambridge had to apply by 15 Octobe and Wednesday's figures give the number of people who applied for courses by then.
This is the first time that UCAS has published the data this way. In previous years, the figures have included the numbers of people that have applied so far for other university courses, which have a January deadline.
The figures show that while applications from England are up, in other parts of the UK there has been a fall.
Applications from Scottish students are down by 1%, while those from Welsh applicants are down 3.9%.
There has been a 2% rise in applications from students in Northern Ireland.
Outside of the UK, applications from EU students are up by 1.8% and those from applicants outside the EU are up 5.1%.
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