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Birkbeck finances: how university income is spent


Like most universities that receive public funding, Birkbeck College is a charity, and raises income from a wide range of sources. This income is spent on day-to-day running costs, providing teaching and other student services, undertaking research and enterprise activities and engaging with businesses and local communities. Any surplus income is reinvested back into improving facilities.

Here's how our income for 2019-20 is broken down: 

  • 4% - government teaching grants
  • 10% - government research grants
  • 1% - government grants for new teaching and research facilities
  • 29% - full-time home and EU students
  • 8% - full-time international students
  • 29% - part-time students
  • 1% - Research Training Support Grants
  • 8% - research income from EU governments, charities, industry and public corporations
  • 10% - other income (investments, charitable donations, business activities etc.)


Our main expenditure is on teaching and research, but we also spend money on a range of other areas that benefit students.

As well as maintaining existing facilities, we spent money on digital education, student support and library resources in 2019-20, which were accelerated due to the pandemic. 

Development of our Cambridge House teaching facility on the Euston Road is ongoing and due to open for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. The plans include a cafe and active learning space as well as additional teaching space, providing capacity for over 600 students and staff.

Construction of our purpose-built Toddler Lab, which extends our research of autism in babies to toddlers, is well underway and the project is expected to be completed in 2020-21. The Toddler Lab will be equipped with sophisticated wireless technology which allows toddlers to carry out normal activities while tracking their brain activity. The facility will include cutting-edge equipment known as 'CAVE' which simulates real-world surroundings such as a farm or supermarket and monitors how toddlers’ brain activity changes.

Here's how our expenditure for 2019-20 is broken down: 

  • 61% - academic and related
  • 7% - research grants and contracts
  • 17% - running the College (administration and professional services)
  • 14% - maintaining the premises
  • 1% - catering and conferences

You can find further information on our income and spending in our financial statements.