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Expenditure in higher education 2015/16

Finances of Higher Education Providers 2015/16 publication released.

HESA's publication summarising the finances of HE providers reveals the breakdown of the sector's £33.0 billion expenditure in 2015/16. Academic departments accounted for £12.3 billion of spending - 37% of total expenditure. Medicine, dentistry and health departments accounted for nearly a quarter of this, with £2.9 billion spend on these departments.

Expenditure through academic departments excludes spending on research grants and contracts, which accounted for a further £4.6 billion in 2015/16 (14% of total expenditure). The tree map below shows the breakdown of expenditure in 2015/16. All the background data for the chart is available via Table J and Table K in the online introduction to Finances of Higher Education Providers 2015/16.




Finances of Higher Education Providers 2015/16 includes tables of income and expenditure data at provider, regional and national level from the HESA Finance record. The free online introduction to the publication includes sector level tables and charts covering balance sheet information, tuition fee and research income, and expenditure by type and department.

Table 1 of the publication, showing income, expenditure and surplus/deficit of each UK HE provider, is also published free online. The table shows a variation in individual income of HE providers ranging from under £10 million to nearly £1.8 billion in 2015/16.

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 (shown in Table 1), but transitional changes are reflected in these figures so they should be interpreted with caution (see note 7).

Notes for Editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
    • Simon Kemp
    • HESA Press Officer
    • 01242 211120
    • [email protected]
    • 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ.
  2. HESA Finance data is collected from all publicly funded Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, plus the University of Buckingham, which is a privately funded HE provider. The 2015/16 data covers 162 HE providers (131 in England, 9 in Wales, 18 in Scotland and 4 in Northern Ireland).
  3. Financial data relates to the providers' financial year 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2016 (except The University of Buckingham which uses a different financial year).
  4. The Open University is counted as an HE provider based in England, although its funding includes contributions from other administrations.
  5. The definitions explain what is included within each expenditure activity.
  6. See data intelligence notes for any known issues with the 2015/16 HESA finance statistics.
  7. The finance record is constructed each year to the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP). A fundamental review of the Finance record was completed in 2014, 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 previous years, 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.
  8. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.

About HESA

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.

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