In this section:
- Impact of COVID-19
- Preparing for the future
- Financial surpluses
- How the home/EU £9,250 tuition fee is spent
The University of Liverpool is a major Higher Education institution. We run more than 400 undergraduate and postgraduate courses, have an alumni network spanning almost 220,000 people across 171 countries, boast collaboration with 1,300 external organisations and have 81% of our research rated world leading and internationally excellent. Each year we open our doors to learners, staff and partners from all walks of life and all corners of the globe.
Our total income in 2020/21 was £597.6 million. Our total expenditure of £571.8 million in 2020/21 was £25.8 million lower than our total income. This operating surplus will be reinvested in the University to improve our teaching and research facilities, and invest in our staff and students.
We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation so do not pay dividends to shareholders.
This summary aims to show the sources of our income, as well as how we use that income to support our operations, pay our staff, provide financial support to students, keep the University running well and prepare for the future.
If you would like to know more about us then please visit our financial information webpages.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought new and unprecedented challenges for organisations right across the globe. In March 2020, the University acted quickly and decisively to protect our University community, and also our financial position.
The campus was initially closed down to all except those working tirelessly on the frontline of the UK research effort into treatments and vaccines for the disease, and unnecessary expenditure was reduced, where needed, to protect staff jobs and preserve financial balances.
This careful financial control will continue to protect the University and its members as the pandemic continues and through the following years of global financial uncertainty.
Throughout the 2020/21 financial year we invested heavily in adapting our campus and our operations to ensure we were COVID-secure and able to support our students and staff. This has included:
- Continually reviewing all buildings on campus with adaptations made where needed across the board
- Making a significant investment in our own dedicated COVID-19 testing facilities for students and staff offering both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing
- Investing in a dedicated on-campus COVID-19 tracing capability to reduce the potential for infection outbreaks on campus
- Provided additional practical and wellbeing support to students who have had to self-isolate including food boxes and additional welfare checks
- Continuing to increase investment in our mental health and wellbeing services for students
- Continuing to provide a successful laptop loan scheme designed to address the needs of students in digital poverty, and making an additional laptop investment for our postgraduate research students to provide appropriate technology to all those in need.
Capital investments are an important part of preparing the University for the future. These investments, which are not included in the expenditure for the year quoted above, or the pie charts below, total £50.2 million for 2020/21, and are funded mainly from surpluses made in previous years. This year the University has invested:
- £15.4 million in capital equipment
- £12.1 million in our world class Arts and Humanities Centre
- £6.2 million in our State-of-the-art Digital Innovation Facility
- £6.2 million in infrastructure programmes of work
- £2.4 million in the Regius Chair refurbishment (Science & Engineering)
- £1.0 million in our new Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research (CEIDR)
- £6.9 million in additional smaller projects
The University of Liverpool is a ‘not for profit’ organisation which means that any operating surplus is reinvested in the University.
Generating surpluses is an essential part of ensuring the financial health of our institution. Financial sustainability requires a position whereby the institution can cover operating costs, but also generate resources for investment. The surplus target for the University is 4% of income, which in 2020/21 equates to £23.9 million.
At the end of each financial year any recorded surplus is added to our reserves which are used to fund investment that can’t be met from our normal recurrent sources of revenue.
- Safeguarding university finances against unforeseen adverse circumstances. These tend to be large, one-off unexpected costs such as the investment required to support our COVID-19 pandemic response
- Funding large investments such as building and facility improvements, and enhancing digital technology. This includes making our buildings more energy efficient, improving accessibility for students and staff with disabilities, and improving the learning and research environment for all.
Our income comes from a variety of sources, all of which support our work including government grants for teaching and research which subsidise the cost of more expensive programmes, student fees, donations and income generated through commercial activities.
This chart shows the main sources of our income in 2020/21. Student fees, in total, made up 51% of our income.
This chart shows how we used our income in 2020/21 to support our activity, from running academic departments to providing support services for students and maintaining our estate, premises and facilities.
The cost of academic departments and academic support services represents more than half of the University’s total expenditure. The remaining expenditure is essential in supporting the quality of the student experience.
This chart aims to demonstrate how the £9,250 Home/EU tuition fee was spent in 2020/21. The areas highlighted in the graph below are also supported by income from other sources, but for the purposes of demonstrating specifically how the home/EU £9,250 student tuition fee is spent we have excluded activity funded by other income including government grants for teaching and research, research grants and contracts, and income from residences, catering and conferences.
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