The extent of cross-subsidies within HE

27 February 2019      Matt Sisson, Projects and Membership Manager

At last year’s Conference at the University of Hull, we were introduced to research being undertaken by the sector’s Financial Sustainability Strategy Group (FSSG) on cross-subsidies in the HE sector. The final report has been published this week.

As expected, the report spells out the extent to which research, which makes a loss, is subsidised by teaching income. However, at nearly 100 pages, there are a wide range of findings that will be of interest to policy makers, funders, and institutions themselves. If I were to choose a sample:

  • Universities do an awful lot (chapter 2)
  • Their unique model allows them to deliver on government priorities (such as STEM) despite the lack of sustainable funding (chapter 4)
  • 79% of HEIs did not recover the full economic cost of their activities in the period assessed (chapter 3)
  • Cross-flows are everywhere and occur between subjects in teaching, and in research between different funders. Restrictions to limit income pooling could have damaging consequences (chapter 5)

It will be interesting to see what impact the report has on the outcome of the Augar review – should it finally find its way through the Brexit jungle.

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