Funding

A sustainable funding environment is essential for universities.

Universities receive income from diverse sources: students, businesses, government, charities, and from both domestic and international sources. Through careful and responsive financial management, universities use this income to:

  • deliver an outstanding learning experience to students, with high quality teaching
  • generate world-class research
  • maximise their contribution to the economy and society 

Universities' income is affected by government policies on the system of undergraduate and postgraduate student funding, and funding for research and innovation. Therefore these policies need to take into account their impact on the long-term financial sustainability of universities. 

Our work on university funding

We work to ensure the overall financial health of the higher education sector through:

  • Shaping government policies that affect the financial sustainability of universities. We work with HM Treasury, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England on the development and implementation of policies such as the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review.
  • Taking steps to improve the visibility and transparency of the financial management of universities.
  • Identifying risks to the financial health of the sector, opportunities to improve it, and helping universities develop their strategies in light of these.     

Our work on funding is overseen by our Funding Policy Network, chaired by Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath.

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Postgraduate taught education: the funding challenge

Report
29 May 2014
Postgraduate taught education is a diverse area of higher education provision that brings enormous benefits to individual graduates, to the economy and to society.

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The funding challenge for universities

Report
7 November 2013
In the wake of significant reforms to the ways universities are funded, both universities and government are faced by a number of challenges and financial pressures.

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Where student fees go

Report
10 September 2013
The way English universities are funded to teach full-time UK and EU undergraduate students has shifted rapidly, from government funding to income from student fees. Universities are often asked to explain how they are using the income from variable fees.

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The funding environment for universities

Report
5 June 2013
A sustainable funding environment is crucial for the UK’s universities to be able to maximise their contribution to economic growth.

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Universities UK submission to the 2013 Spending Round

Report
16 May 2013
Universities UK’s submission to the government’s 2013 Spending Round sets out why and how universities are critical to maintaining the UK’s economic competitiveness.

Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance

Report
21 May 2010
Our submission to the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance. This is our second submission to the Browne Review.

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Making it count: how universities are using income from variable fees

Report
29 January 2010
The future opportunities and challenges facing the UK university research base and makes recommendations as to how the system can respond to these.

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Gifts that grow

Report
21 May 2009
This publication gives case study examples of ways that universities have used the donations.

Attitudes to debt and term time work

Survey of higher education students’ attitudes to debt and term-time working

Report
23 November 2005
This study aimed to investigate full-time higher education students’ attitudes to debt and term-time working and their impact on academic studies and attainment.

Spending review 2004: achieving our vision

Spending review 2004: Achieving our vision

Report
12 February 2004
Achieving our vision', Universities UK's 2004 spending review submission for England and Northern Ireland, sets out the level of investment we believe is needed for the sector to achieve agreed objectives.

Blog

Budget 2018 – key points for universities

30 October 2018
While there were no headline policies on higher education this year, Mark Condren digs into the documents underpinning the Budget to find announcements of interest to universities.

Have we "miseducated a generation" about student finance?

20 June 2018
A survey of students by Universities UK and the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) reveals that many students are not aware that student loans differ to conventional 'debt'.

News

Government review is a fantastic opportunity to improve the university system for students

5 September 2018
Government must aim to create a sustainable university funding system in England, which supports learners from all backgrounds to reach their potential.

Students need better information about tuition fees and student loans – new survey

20 June 2018
Students need clearer and more accurate information about tuition fees and student loan repayments to help them decide whether to apply for a university course, according to a new survey of students.

The team

Jovan Luzajic

Jovan Luzajic

Senior Policy Analyst
Universities UK

Julie Tam

Julie Tam

Deputy Director of Policy
Universities UK

Daniel Wake

Daniel Wake

Policy Analyst
Universities UK