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Discussion of the HESA finance data

   UCU Comment 

UK universities' income increased by £915m (2.7%) between 2015/16 and 2016/17, according to figures from the Higher Education tatistics Agency (HESA). During that time they made a surplus of £2.3bn and now have total reserves of £44.27bn - up from £12.33bn in 2009/10.

The data revealed huge increases in capital expenditure, but also that the proportion of money spent on staff dropped to a new low of 52.9%. While the percentage of expenditure spent on staff has fallen by 6.54% in the past seven years, the percentage spent on capital expenditure has shot up by 34.9% over that period.

2016/17 key findings:

  • Total income increased by £915m (2.7%) and now stands at £35.7bn
  • Surplus for the year is £2.3bn - which is 6.4% of income
  •  Income from tuition fees increased by £931m (5.5%)
  • Net current assets up by 8.6% (£551m) to £6.8bn across the sector
  • Unrestricted income and expenditure reserves increased by £3bn (10.7%) to £31.6bn total
  • Total reserves of £44.27bn - up from £12.33bn in 2009/10

UCU said the figures made a mockery of universities' claims that staff were a top priority. Staff in universities have seen their pay fall by around 20% since 2009, while university leaders' pay and perks have gone largely unchecked. The union said that the figures also suggested universities paid no attention to what students wanted most from their education, as they have called for investment in staff over buildings*.

Universities' income + expenditure data: Proportion of expenditure on staff down 6.54% since 09/10 Capital expenditure up by 34.9% Total reserves more than tripled to £44.27bn

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