This article is more than 7 years old

Spend, spend, spend: university expenditure data

Some interesting new data on university finances for 2013-14 has been published by HESA.
This article is more than 7 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

Universities and their finances

Some interesting new data on university finances for 2013-14 has been published by HESA.hesa-logo-wonkhe

The latest HESA press release shows Expenditure of HE providers by activity and provides a breakdown of £29.4 billion expenditure.

Finances of Higher Education Providers 2013/14 shows that  £11.4bn (38.7% of the total) was spent through academic departments. Medicine, dentistry and health departments accounted for 8.9% of total expenditure.

The picture below breaks down expenditure for the whole sector by activity.

HESA finances

 Or to put it another way:

Spend analysis HESA


Expenditure by category (i.e. staff costs/interest/depreciation/other) can be found in the HESA Press Release. And the introduction to the finances has more detail too.

The Times Higher Education has a detailed analysis by institution of finances based on published 2013-14 accounts:

Sitting on growing surpluses, enjoying increasing income and paying their leaders handsomely: at first glance, such facts might make the UK’s universities appear to be rather flush and an attractive target for politicians seeking post-election spending cuts.

But with the sector grappling with tuition fees capped at £9,000 a year, ever more demands for significant capital investment and mounting staff costs, are universities really in robust financial shape?

Times Higher Education’s annual financial health check, using university data collated by the accountancy firm Grant Thornton, suggests that 2013-14 gave institutions a chance to steady themselves after the upheaval caused by the introduction of £9,000 fees the previous year.

What do we take from all of this? It feels rather like the calm before the storm. Whatever the election result there are harder financial times ahead and future health checks are likely to show a few more sickly patients.

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