University financial update for 2019/20

Each year, the University publishes information about its finances, which includes audited financial statements as well as information for students.

This information is available to all students and staff and can be accessed on our webpages.

Our total income in 2019/20 was £583.5 million. Our total expenditure of £582.1 million in 2019/20 was £1.4 million lower than our total income, creating an operating surplus of 0.2% of our income. Generating surpluses is essential in enabling the University to invest in our activities, including making our buildings more energy efficient and more accessible to students and staff with disabilities, and improving the learning and research environment for all. We also enhance the digital environment to take advantage of technological advances.

These investments for 2019/20, which are funded mainly from surpluses made in previous years, include:

  • £9.4 million in capital equipment
  • £7.4 million in our new School of Law and Social Justice
  • £7 million in our newly launched Greenbank Student Village (funded through borrowings)
  • £5.7 million in infrastructure programmes of work
  • £5.2 million in our world-class Arts and Humanities Centre
  • £4 million in our State-of-the-art Digital Innovation Facility
  • £2.8 million in the Regius Chair refurbishment (Science & Engineering)
  • £9.2 million in additional smaller projects

We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation so do not pay dividends to shareholders.


Our income comes from a variety of sources, all of which support our work. These include government grants for teaching and research which subsidise the cost of more expensive programmes, student fees, donations and income generated through commercial activities.

Student fees, in total, made up around 56% of our income.

You can view a breakdown of income sources here.


We used our income in 2019/20 to support our activity, from running academic departments to providing support services for students and maintaining our estate, premises and facilities.

The cost of academic departments and academic support services represents just under half of the University’s total expenditure. The remaining expenditure is essential in supporting the quality of the student experience.

You can view a breakdown of expenditure here.

How the home/EU £9,250 tuition fee is spent

Each year we aim to demonstrate how the £9,250 Home/EU tuition fee is spent to help students understand what their fees support beyond their academic tutoring. The areas highlighted in the report are also supported by income from other sources, but for the purposes of demonstrating specifically how the home/EU £9,250 student tuition fee is spent we have excluded other income including government grants for teaching and research, research grants and contracts, and income from residences, catering and conferences.

You can view a breakdown of how the home/EU tuition fee is spent here.

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new and unprecedented challenges for organisations right across the globe. In March 2020, the University acted quickly and decisively to protect our University community, and also our financial position.

The campus was initially closed down to all except those working tirelessly on the frontline of the UK research effort into treatments and vaccines for the disease, and unnecessary expenditure was reduced to protect staff jobs and preserve financial balances.

This careful financial control will continue to protect the University and its members throughout the pandemic and the following years of global financial uncertainty.

We have invested heavily in adapting our campus and our operations to ensure we are COVID-secure and able to support our students and staff. This has included:

  • Undertaking a full review of all buildings on campus with adaptations made where needed across the board
  • Making a significant investment in our own dedicated COVID-19 testing facilities for students and staff offering both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing
  • Investing in a dedicated on-campus COVID-19 tracing capability to reduce the potential for infection outbreaks on campus
  • Provided additional practical and wellbeing support to students who have had to self-isolate including food boxes and additional welfare checks
  • Increasing investment in our mental health and wellbeing services for students
  • Investing an additional £1million to support students in financial hardship. This included opening up applications for the University Hardship Fund to more students, including our international cohorts.
  • Offering a rebate to those in University accommodation where students chose to stay away for an extended period
  • Opening up technology support schemes including free mobile broadband “Mi-Fi” devices, which provide 4G access to the internet through a monthly data allowance, and a successful laptop loan scheme designed to address the needs of students in digital poverty
  • Making an additional laptop investment for our postgraduate research students which provided appropriate technology to all those in need.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have planned delivery to suit a range of circumstances and are confident in the quality of our learning and teaching provision. All students have received high-quality online instruction with a mix of pre-prepared content together with the opportunity to learn from and interact with lecturers and peers in real time. All of our students will still have the opportunity to acquire all the intended learning outcomes for their programmes and degree awards will carry the same value, and the recognition of quality associated with our University. In all of our decisions we seek to address equality, diversity and inclusion concerns, for example by focussing additional support where appropriate on those who need it most.