Birkbeck finances: how university income is spent

At Birkbeck, we endeavour to provide our students and other stakeholders with the information they need to understand the College’s financial position.

2015/2016 (£m)2014/2015 (£m)
Income 108.1 106.4
Expenditure (98.4) (100.6)
Surplus 9.7 5.8


Our income comes from a variety of sources.

2015/2016 (£m)2014/2015 (£m)
Funding Council grants 19.9 20.9
Tuition fees and support grants 67.7 63.9
Research grants and contracts 10.1 10.3
Other operating income 8.7 8.9
Endowment income and interest receivable 1.7 2.4
Total income 108.1 106.4

The teaching grant from HEFCE fell by a further £1.0m in 2015/16 to £8.3m, as an increasing proportion of our tuition fees are funded through student loans. Research grants received from HEFCE also fell by £0.2m to £9.6m. These figures include an element of in-year reduction in funding, which will flow through to 2016/17.


Analysis of expenditure confirms that the College continues to invest heavily in education and research with only 19% of total expenditure (18% in 2014/15) spent on administration and other central services.

2015/2016 (£m)2014/2015 (£m)
Academic and related services 59.4 58.6
Administration and Professional Services 19.0 16.5
Premises 11.2 10.5
Research grants and contracts 7.4 7.8
Other 1.9 1.6
Total expenditure (excluding pension provision) 98.9 95.0

Operating surplus

The difference between the College's income and expenditure is the operating surplus. This surplus is kept within the College to fund future projects and initiatives. These include, for example, planned improvements to the College's estate.

2015/2016 (£m)2014/2015 (£m)
Surplus after tax but before other gains and losses 9.5 5.7

The surplus of 8.8% (after tax but before other gains and losses) of turnover generated £10.8m of cash from operating activities.

Generating cash from operating activities supports the College's strategic objective: all Birkbeck students studying either in fully owned facilities or in property shared with other higher education institutions by our 200th anniversary in 2023. As a registered charity, it is also important that the College maintains a level of cash to manage risk and uncertainty.

Total cash reserves at the year end (excluding endowments and long term investments) totalled £35.6m (£43.4m in 2014/15).

For more details of Birkbeck's financial position, read the financial statements we publish every year.