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Balance sheets

University finances are looking precarious

Figures published yesterday by the Higher Education Statistics Agency appear to show that university expenditure outpaced income for the first time ever in 2018-19. While total income for institutions was £40.8 billion, expenditure topped £44bn. Overall, only 75 institutions were in surplus, while 119—61 per cent of the total—were in deficit. Chris Parr covers the story on our website.

But much of this is due to a significant pension accounting adjustment following the 2017 valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. This means that it could be a one-off, not necessarily reflecting institutions’ underlying financial health.

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