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Income and expenditure of higher education providers in 2015/16

HESA publications released - HE Finance Plus 2015/16 and Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom - Finance data

Today's release of finance data for UK higher education providers reveals a total income for the HE sector of £34.7 billion in 2015/16. Income from tuition fees was £16.8 billion representing 48.4% of total income. The sector's total expenditure was £33.0 billion, of which £18.0 billion (54.6%) was spent on staff costs.

Accounting standards for higher education providers changed for 2015/16 so that this year's data is not comparable with previously published HESA finance data. HE providers submitted re-stated figures for 2014/15 based on the new standards, but transitional changes, such as an inflation of staff costs, are reflected in these figures so they should be interpreted with caution (see note 4). The charts below show the income and expenditure of higher education providers by source. More detailed breakdowns can be found in Tables 16 and 17 of Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2015/16.








HE Finance Plus 2015/16 contains the full finance statistics return for UK higher education providers. Data includes detailed income and expenditure analysis, balance sheet, cash flow, and capital expenditure information.

Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom is published free of charge, as part of HESA's open data strategy. The publication will build over the year to cover all aspects of higher education data collected by HESA and others. The HESA finance data component is published today under a Creative Commons 4.0 license at alongside information previously released by the Student Loans Company and the OECD.

Notes for editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
  2. HESA finance data is collected from all publicly funded higher education providers in the UK, plus the University of Buckingham, which is a privately funded HE provider. The 2015/16 staff data covers 163 HE providers (132 in England, 9 in Wales, 18 in Scotland and 4 in Northern Ireland).
  3. Definitions of the terms used in this press release can be found at
  4. The finance record is constructed each year to the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP). A fundamental review of the Finance record was completed in 2013/14, with the resulting changes implemented in a new specification for the 2015/16 collection, taking into consideration the changes from the implementation of Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) 102. Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) 102 is the new financial reporting framework for higher and further education providers for reporting periods starting on or after 1 January 2015. These new standards have introduced significant changes in the way financial performance is reported, which present difficulties in comparing 2015/16 results with historical trends, and in comparing results between providers. Some transitional changes reflected in the restated 2014/15 results mean this is also an atypical year. We would therefore advise caution when undertaking time series and comparative analysis.
  5. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.

About HESA

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the recognised source of data on higher education in the UK. Our experts collect, analyse, and disseminate accurate and comprehensive statistical information on all aspects of UK higher education in order to support the strategic aims of our users and enhance the effectiveness of the sector as a whole. We are a charity and a company limited by guarantee. We operate as an independent organisation, working in close partnership with higher education providers, regulators, funders, government departments, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

Press Release

Press Officer