Funding sources and fee income

Universities Scotland was asked for comment by the Herald newspaper for an article it published on Saturday 7 May about tuition fees from rUK and international students as a growing source of income in Scotland.

The article follows publication of a report published by  Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Finances of Higher Education Providers 2014/15 on 28 April 2016 which indicated that money generated by fees from international students and those from the rest of the UK (rUK) reached £94 million and accounted for 45 per cent of the sector’s teaching income, an increase of £57m from 2010. Figures from 2010 showed that universities then generated £37m from tuition fees which represented 39 per cent of their teaching income.

Commenting on fee income, funding and its implications for the student experience, a spokesperson for Universities Scotland said:

Most of the income in this set of figures is funding earmarked directly for teaching and research. What the increase actually shows is that universities are teaching greater numbers of students and doing greater volumes of important research. Neither teaching or research is funded at full economic cost which means that universities are delivering more and more for less.

“Public investment in universities allows them to go out and win other sources of income. The data show that universities are working incredibly hard to make public investment go as far as possible. It is important, though, that universities have steady and sustainable public investment at their core in order to lever-in other revenue streams.

“Tuition fees income from rUK and international students is invested in teaching staff, in libraries and equipment, in innovative approaches to learning. This is to the significant benefit of our ‘free’ home students as much as it is to those paying the fees. Teaching funding for home students has not met the full costs of that tuition for some time and has just been cut again. This makes fee income from other sources essential to universities’ ability to continue to offer high quality education.

The Herald article can be read here

HESA Publication Finances of Higher Education Providers 2014/15 can be accessed here