The University's finances at a glance 2020/21

Here are some of the headline messages to give you a better insight into how we are funded, where we invest our income and the financial opportunities and challenges ahead.

This was another challenging and unusual year for our University, with COVID-19 continuing to have a major impact on all aspects of activity. We have reported an improved operating surplus of £61.4m (5.6% of income) compared to £5.2m (0.5% of income) for 2019/20. The year-on-year improvement partly reflects higher student numbers and associated tuition fee income, but many of the University’s activities continue to be below 2018/19 operating levels as a direct result of the pandemic.

To find more detail and commentary on the University's finances, you can look at our 2020/21 Financial Statements on our corporate documents page.

Where our money comes from

In 2020/21 our total income increased by 3.4% to £1,100m. Excluding capital income of £43m (£54m in 2019/20), our income was 4.6% higher than the prior year.

The University of Manchester does not make a profit on the income it receives; all income is reinvested to fulfil the University's core goals.

Where our money is spent

During 2020/21 we continued to invest in supporting our three goals of research and discovery; teaching and learning; and social responsibility.

The largest proportion of our income is spent on our staff, who support the delivery of these core goals. Our staff costs have grown significantly over recent years due primarily to inflationary pay awards, automatic pay increments and increased pension costs.

What is the £9,250 tuition fee spent on?

We’re committed to providing clarity about how we use income from tuition fees to deliver a high-quality student experience. This matches the expectation of the Office for Students in holding the sector to account regarding choice, competition, transparency and value for money.

Choose a segment on the graph below to see the percentage of the total.

Why are fees higher for international students?

When setting fees for our international students, we have to ensure that they cover the full cost of their education. This is because, unlike for some UK undergraduate students, we do not receive any government funding. The higher fee for international students reflects both the full costs of delivery and the specific support we provide to international students. This includes providing information and support prior to, and following, arrival in the UK and support for immigration.

In addition to direct costs of teaching, facilities, equipment and IT support, tuition fees also contribute towards the provision of services across the University. This includes library provision, student welfare and careers support services, along with sports and social facilities.

One of the attractions of our University is that our programmes are informed and taught by world-class researchers who are experts in their field. Here, as in most countries, students express a clear preference for studying in research-intensive universities and employers recognise the added value of resulting qualifications.

The existing UK higher education institution funding model doesn’t support the full recovery of costs for research-intensive universities, such as Manchester. In order to carry out important research that can be shared with our students, there is an element of cross-subsidy from the international student and other fees. The level of these fees is decided by the University, rather than set by the UK government. This is a function of the current operating model for the whole university sector, which was the subject of a recent study by the Higher Education Policy Institute.