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Running on empty

Higher eduction in Wales still has an operating deficit.

Welsh universities reported a small surplus of £43.5 million in 2013-14, amounting to less than one per cent of their incomes, according to figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales published on 19 January. The overall figures show a total deficit of £67 million when the full economic cost of capital and infrastructure are included, however.

Although the funding gap is narrower than the £85 million recorded in 2012-13, the report says that Welsh universities are “not in a position to provide for a fully sustainable future”. The ability of institutions to generate sufficient cash surpluses and secure loan funding will be “essential” to fund the investment in estates and fixed assets required to respond to competition and increased student expectations, it says. Sources outside of government may “not be sufficient” to meet the long-term investment needs, it warns.

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