SCOTTISH universities have recorded an increase in the number of fee-paying students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The rise was revealed on the day hundreds of thousands of pupils from south of the Border received their A-level results.

Figures from Ucas, the body that administers higher education clearing, show Scottish universities have enjoyed a 9% hike in students from the rest of the UK (rUK).

Ucas said 4700 rUK students secured a place in Scotland compared to 4300 on the same day last year.

The increase of 400 students has no impact on the number of Scottish students recruited as they apply through an entirely separate process, despite false reports last week that rUK students were displacing home students.

In fact, the increase in rUK students mirrors a 9% rise in student numbers across UK higher education as a whole as the turbulence surrounding the introduction of top-up tuition fees of up to £9000 south of the Border appears to be settling.

The Ucas figures also confirmed 600 extra Scots got university places in Scotland compared to last year, with numbers now at 25,550 after a rise of more than 2%. The number of Scots getting a place in England rose by 8% to 1300.

As The Herald reported ­yesterday, the money Scottish universities make from rUK students is increasingly important, with institutions here set to make an annual income from this source of at least £140 million by 2015/16.

Alastair Sim, director of ­Universities Scotland, which represents principals, said cross-border flows of students, in both directions, were very positive.

He said: "It's encouraging to see a modest increase in the number of students from the rest of the UK coming to Scotland and it's a ringing endorsement for Scottish higher education."

The Scottish Government ­highlighted the record number of Scots accepted into university here, helped by nearly 3000 who have found a place since the ­Highers exam results were published.

Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment, said: "I am pleased to see the extra places we are funding are helping more young Scots meet their ambitions of going to university. These figures are good news for our young people, our universities and our economy."

The Ucas figures have also helped dispel concerns over a rise in EU students at Scottish universities, who still get free tuition under European legislation.

There were fears Scots could lose out as a result because EU students compete for the same places, but the latest statistics show EU student numbers have dropped by 6% to 3680.

Fees of up to £9000 a year were introduced by Scots universities for rUK students in 2012/13 as a result of policy changes in ­Westminster.

Since then, ­universities have been actively marketing themselves south of the Border. The final numbers accepted into Scotland's universities should be known in the next few weeks.