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Investing your student fees

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2021/22 headlines

  • The University had a total income of £200 million
  • The University spent 90% of its fee income on student-facing activities
  • 71p of each £1 of a student’s fee was invested directly in teaching our students
  • The University increased hardship funding, providing around 20% of students across Sunderland and London with different forms of additional financial support

We invest heavily in the student experience, providing a supportive and empowering learning environment. In 2021/22, the University spent 90% of its student fee income directly on student experience activities and facilities. As well as direct teaching provision, campuses and facilities, this included student financial support, other student services such as wellbeing and libraries, and a grant to the Students’ Union.

Where the University's income comes from

Income in 2021/22 was £200 million – the majority of this came from student fee income and other education contracts, shown in the chart below:

A graph showing University income for 2021-22. The majority is gained from Student Fees and Education Contracts

Graph description: The pie chart shows the split of where the University's income came from in 2021/22. The total income for the University was £200 million for this time period. The chart shows that the majority of the University's income came from student fees and education contracts, making up the largest section at 86% of the pie chart. For the remaining income, teaching grants amount to 7% of the chart, other income including investments amount to 7% and research grants and contracts amount to 1%.

How we spend every £1* of student fee income

In 2021/22 the University spent its student fee income in seven ways as shown in the chart below.

*Please note this has been rounded to the nearest whole penny. 

A pie chart showing how the University splits the spend of every £1 of student fees

Graph description: A pie chart displaying the split in which the University spent every £1 of a student's fee in 2021/22. It shows that for every £1 spent, 71p was on direct teaching costs, making this the largest section on the chart. The remaining segments show that 10p was spent on admin and central services, 9p was spent on providing campus services and facilities, 6p on student welfare, 3p on financial support such as scholarships and bursaries, 1p on residences and catering and 1p was put to the Students' Union block grant. 

We maintain our excellent standards by employing high-quality academic staff who are involved in both teaching and research. We believe that our research makes your learning experience more engaging and relevant to the needs of employers and wider society.

Your student fee also goes towards providing the best possible student support. This includes investment in generous scholarships and funding to help you during your studies. We employ expert staff to provide advice and guidance in areas such as planning for your career, helping you to secure a work placement, or finding you a professional mentor and much, much more.

The University spends money on student facilities such as libraries, laboratories, leisure, social and sporting facilities.

Our buildings are filled with high-tech equipment and high-quality teaching spaces that compare with the very best. Our capital investment is continuous to make sure we are maintaining standards and keeping abreast of new technology.

How the University spends its income

The graph below shows how the University spent the entirety of its income in 2021/22 – including non-fee related monies.

Expenditure in 2021/22 amounted to £202 million. The majority of this was spent on direct student-facing activity, shown in the chart below:

A graph that shows how the university spends it's income. The majority (60%) is spent on direct teaching costs

Graph description: The graph shows a breakdown of where the University spent income in 2021/22. The total expenditure for this time period was £202 million. The chart shows that the majority of spend was on direct teaching costs, which accounts for the largest section at 60%. For the remaining spend, administration and central services amounted to 10%, campus services and facilities was 10%, 9% was accounted for by spend on other, non-categorisable items, student support services such as wellbeing and careers were 5%, and student financial support, bursaries and scholarships, was 3%. Residences and catering was 3%, the Students’ Union block grant was 1% and research was 0.5%.

Planned investment spend

In the last five years, the University has invested significant amounts in the enhancement of its academic facilities. By the summer of 2023, we’ll have completed nearly £80 million of investment in facilities for both students and staff. Significant highlights have included the opening of a multi-million-pound Anatomy Centre to train students and benefit the region’s current surgeons and surgical trainees, and investment in state-of-the-art photography and media facilities.

The University of Sunderland is a life-changing university and we are continuously committed to developing a fantastic study experience. We will continue to invest in our portfolio of programmes and campuses to help prepare you to embark on your career with crucial real-world experience and skills.

Investment highlights since 2020/21:

  • Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing: Opened a multi-million anatomy centre to support our work in medicine and other health disciplines, along with investment in new Midwifery facilities and Problem Based Learning Suites in the Medical School and a new home for the School of Medicine and School of Psychology
  • Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries: Investment in state-of-the-art photography and media facilities, including a 4k-UHD virtual production studio, a new photography centre, and a new studio for our student community radio, Spark
  • Faculty of Technology: Investment in state-of-the-art equipment including 3D printing and robotics and an ongoing refurbishment of the David Goldman Technology Centre
  • London Campus: Significant expansion and investment in the University of Sunderland in London
  • Faculty libraries: Investment to create new facilities, the Library@Pasteur and Library@David Goldman as part of our ongoing enhancement of student learning resources
  • Learning technologies: Investment to upgrade classroom IT/AV equipment
  • Halls of residence refurbishment programme
  • Teaching and working spaces: Investment to enhance teaching and student spaces, and agile working areas for staff

We are always looking for ways to reduce our administrative costs through ongoing efficiencies and new ways of working. By reducing these costs we can spend more of our income on what students tell us is important.

For a more detailed account of our income and expenditure, you can read our financial reports.

Published: 31 May 2023