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Investing your student fees

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2018/19 headlines

  • The University had a total income of £138 million
  • The University spent £134.5 million, excluding exceptional spend
  • The University spent 89% of its fee income on student-facing activities
  • 66p of each £1 of a student’s fee is invested directly in teaching our students
  • £2.5 million of unspent income was re-invested in developing the student experience

We invest heavily in the student experience. In total, the University spends 89% of its student fee income directly on student experience activities and facilities. As well as direct teaching provision, our campuses and facilities, this includes 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 2018/19 was £138 million. The majority of this came from student fee income and other education contracts, shown in the chart below:

A chart titled 'University income 2018/19 £138m' which shows the vast majority from Student fees & education contracts

Graph description: The breakdown of University income in 2018/19. Total income was £138 million. Fee income was 86% of this. Teaching grants were 7%. Other income including investments were 6%. Research grants and contracts amount to 1%.

How we spend every £1 of student fee income*

The University spends its student fee income in six ways as shown in the chart below. 89p of each £1 of fee income is spent on providing teaching and other direct student-facing activities. This leaves 11p in each £1 to contribute towards the costs of providing University services and administration which are essential elements of the University but which do not always provide a student experience as their primary function. This includes departments such as Human Resources and Finance.

A chart showing How we spend every £1 of student fees, which shows the majority dedicated to direct teaching

Graph description: The University spends its student fee income in six ways. For each pound we spend, 66p is on direct teaching costs. 12p is spent on providing campus services and facilities. 11p is spent on admin and central services. 6p is spent on student support, welfare and Futures. 4p is spent on financial support such as scholarships and bursaries. 1p is put to the Students' Union block grant. *These are rounded to the nearest penny.

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

Fee income comprises the significant majority of our income, the graph above shows how we spend our fee income on delivering a high-quality and enriching university experience to our students. The graph below shows how the University spends the entirety of its income – including non-fee related monies.

Expenditure in 2018/19 amounted to £134.5 million, excluding exceptional costs. The majority of this – 78% – was spent on direct student-facing activity, shown in the chart below:

A chart titled University spend during 2018-19, which shows the majority dedicated to direct teaching

 Graph description: The breakdown of University spend in 2018/19. Total spend was £134.5 million, excluding exceptional costs. Direct teaching costs account for 58%. Campus services and facilities were 12%. Administration and central services was 11% of spend. Student support services such as wellbeing and careers were 5%. Student financial support, bursaries and scholarships, was 3%. Residences and catering, 2%. Research and the Students’ Union block grant were 1% each. 5% is accounted for by spend on other, non-categorisable items. There was a £2.5 million difference between income and expenditure which is for investing in further improvement projects.


Planned investment spend

In the last four years, the University has invested significant amounts in its academic facilities, including the creation of a brand new School of Medicine, ready for the first students in September 2019.

This year, 2018/19, we invested £17.3 million in improvement and other capital projects. 79% of this was invested in student-facing improvement and facilities.

The chart below shows our planned investment spend up until 2022/23. This is a comprehensive, ambitious plan to the value of a further £47 million from 2019/20 until 2022/23. We will continue to develop our student experience, our range of programmes and campuses to provide vital transformative experiences necessary for our ready-for-work graduates.

Chart titled Planned Investment Spend 2018-2022, which shows the majority dedicated to direct student facing

Graph description: Chart showing that the University plans to invest £64 million between 2018 and 2023 in an ambitious five-year improvement schedule. Over half of this will be in direct student-facing facilities and improvements.

Investment highlights from 2018/19:

  • Faculty of Health Sciences & Wellbeing: £8.5 million on our new medical school, healthcare programme developments and significant investments in equipment to ensure our students can learn to use sector-leading equipment as they prepare for their future careers
  • Faculty of Education & Society: £2.3 million to acquire Wearside View, enabling the Faculty to be together at St Peter’s campus. A significant investment in refurbishment is due in 2019/20
  • Faculty of Technology: £600,000 of equipment for our sustainable engineering activity
  • Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism: £300,000 to refurbish and refresh Reg Vardy Building
  • Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries: £300,000 to replace EditShare software and provide new Apple Mac computers
  • London Campus: £170,000 to update classrooms and improve technology
  • Gateway Building: £1.6 million to completely transform the ground floor, including new café, Gateway service and Sunderland Futures spaces and a new entrance from the University Quad
  • Students’ Union: £230,000 to transform their space in Edinburgh building
  • Learning Technologies: £370,000 in upgrades, improvements and new platforms
  • IT: £340,000 on new and replacement equipment

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: 30 July 2020