Financial information for students

University of Liverpool financial information 2021/22

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 91% 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.

In this section

Our total income in 2021/22 was £614.9 million. Our total expenditure of £756.1 million in 2021/22 was £141.2 million higher than our total income.

Our results for 2021/22 have been materially impacted by the increase in our Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension provision. This provision relates to our obligation to fund the University’s share of a past deficit on USS, calculated based on the USS 2020 actuarial valuation, and has impacted all universities who are members of the scheme. The provision has increased by £138 million to £214.1 million resulting in a gap, or operating deficit, between our income and expenditure for the 2021/22 financial year. This is as expected and is due to the pension adjustment along with additional investment as we emerge from the pandemic and begin to invest in our strategic priorities.

The pension adjustment is a one-off non-cash charge; however, it does reflect the continued high cost of the USS pension and represent amounts due over the next sixteen years based on the latest valuation. Our underlying financial performance is sound with an underlying operating surplus of £11.8 million.

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.

Preparing for the future

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 £48.8 million for 2021/22, and are funded mainly from surpluses made in previous years. This year the University has invested:

  • £12.9 million in software and capital equipment
  • £5.8 million in our world class Arts and Humanities Centre
  • £2.5 million on the Malawi Welcome Trust Clinical Research Programme CREATOR Project
  • £2.0 million on the utilisation of the William Henry Duncan Building
  • £1.9 million on the refurbishment and extension of the School of Environmental Sciences
  • £0.9 million on the refurbishment and extension of the School of Architecture
  • £16.7 million in infrastructure programmes of work
  • £6.1 million in additional smaller projects

Financial surpluses

The University of Liverpool is a ‘not for profit’ organisation which means that any annual operating surplus is reinvested in the University.

Generating surpluses in most years 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. Our longer-term strategy is to achieve an underlying operating surplus of 4% in order to enable continued investment in strategic priorities. The current year underlying result of 1.9% reflects the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on overseas student recruitment, and our decision to invest in priority areas as we emerge from the tight cost controls in place over the last two years.

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.

This includes:

  • 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 2021/22. Student fees, in total, made up 50% of our income.

This chart shows the main sources of our income in 2021/22. Student fees, in total, made up 50% of our income.

Explanation of terminology


This chart shows how we used our income in 2021/22 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.


Explanation of terminology

How the £9,250 tuition fee is spent

This chart aims to demonstrate how the £9,250 tuition fee was spent in 2021/22. The areas highlighted in the graph below are also supported by income from other sources, but for the purposes of demonstrating specifically how the £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. We have also excluded from staff costs a £138 million one-off non-cash charge in relation to our USS pension provision.

Pie chart showing Home/EU Tuition Fee Spend

Explanation of terminology

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