More Scots than ever before have applied to study at university, new figures have revealed.

The number of prospective students applying to Scottish universities has also reached a record level.

A total of 43,910 Scots applied for a university course in the 2014 cycle, according to figures from the University and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas).

That is a rise of 2% from the previous year, when the total was 42,930.

A total of 43,170 people living in Scotland applied to study at a university north of the border - again a rise of 2% on the previous year to reach a new record high.

The total number of applications to study at Scottish universities also increased by 2% to 113,030 - the highest ever total.

The number of prospective students from England has also risen in the last two years, as tuition fees south of the border have increased.

In the 2012 round of applications, 25,110 people living in England made a bid to a study at a Scottish university, with this rising to 28,680 in 2013 and again to 29,110 in 2014.

But the number of applicants from English people hoping to study at university south of the border has fallen from 475,760 in the 2011 cycle to 455,910 in the most recent round of applications.

Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan said: "I am very pleased to see that a record number of Scots are applying to university both in Scotland and around the UK. This is in contrast with England where application numbers have still not returned to the pre-tuition fee levels. They remain almost 20,000 applicants below their pre-tuition fees level. There can be few stronger arguments for determination to keep education free here in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring Scottish students continue to have access to higher education based on the ability to learn rather than the ability to pay, and we have made clear that this will continue in an independent Scotland.

"We have taken action to protect places for Scottish-domiciled students and ensure that Scotland is seen as the right place to study and not just the cheap option. Scotland's universities are among the best in the world and today's record figures show they are continuing to thrive."