There have been 2,300 fewer students accepted at the city’s universities this academic year, according to new figures.
The Ucas data reveals how every university in the country fared in the first year since tuition fees were almost trebled to up to £9,000-a-year.
It shows all three universities in Leeds had fewer applications and fewer acceptances in 2012/13 compared with 12 months earlier.
The university system has undergone a radical overhaul with tuition fees almost trebling and changes to the way students are recruited with institutions having their quotas cut but given the freedom to take on an unlimited number who achieved two As and a B or better at A-level.
In 2011/12 there was a surge in applications as fewer candidates took gap years to avoid the higher fees of 2012/13.
Leeds Metropolitan had 7,140 fewer applications in 2012 and accepted 1,819 fewer students.
It accepted 6,265 in 2012/13 compared with 8,084 in 2011/12.
Leeds had 3,099 less applicants and 416 fewer students while Leeds Trinity had 816 fewer applications and 85 fewer accepted candidates.
Leeds University’s vice chancellor Prof Michael Arthur told the YEP earlier this week that it had been left with 540 empty places which was “unprecedented”.
He also warned that a system designed to allow universities to recruit more top students this year had been undermined by a drop in the numbers getting good A-level grades.
Across Yorkshire there were almost 4,500 fewer students accepted into Yorkshire universities this academic year after a massive slump in applications following the hike in fees.
Figures show 26,855 less applications were made to the ten universities in the region for September 2012 compared with the previous year.
Dr Paul Smith, deputy vice chancellor for strategic development at Leeds Metropolitan University, said: “These figures include UK, EU and international student applications, which are administered through the Ucas process.
“2011 saw unprecedented demand to study with us, prior to the changes to student funding introduced in 2012. This means that many more of our offers were accepted than usual.
“In 2012 therefore, we made fewer offers to students, to offset the previous year’s exceptional numbers and to ensure that, moving forward, we would be within the student recruitment allowance allocated to us by the Higher Education Funding Council.”
Leeds Met said it had only 123 places unfilled in 2012.