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Financial information

Cardiff University is one of the UK’s largest universities with an annual turnover in excess of £600m.

2020/21 saw the University retain an operating surplus of £31m, an improvement on last year’s £14m operating surplus. After adjusting for one-off items the total surplus for 2020/21 was £59m.

Whilst we face some significant political and economic risks and continued uncertainty about the global pandemic, we remain cautious but optimistic about the future.

The University has a strong balance sheet and sufficient liquidity to deal positively with the uncertainties and opportunities that the future holds.

Annual Report and Financial Statements 2021

Year ended 31 July 2021.

Where our money comes from

Our total income grew from £569m to £604m in 2020/21 due to a 4.2%increase in undergraduate students and additional COVID-19 support from Welsh Government.

Our two main sources of income remain tuition fees, which saw an increase of £10m to £306m, and research grants, which maintained and generated an unchanged £113m of income.

Funding Body grants increased significantly from £78m to £110m in part due to an additional HEFCW grant of £29m, representing the University’s share of Welsh Government COVID-19 funding for the sector to support students, staff and facilities during the pandemic.

Other income saw a drop in the year as public sector contracts declined during the pandemic.

Analysis of 2020/21 income by category

Category2020/212019/20
Tuition fees and support grants£307m£297m
Research grants and contracts£113m£113m
Funding body grants£109m£78m
Other income£68m£74m
Donations, endowments and investment income£7m£7m
Total income£605m£569m

What we spend our money on

In 2020/21, we spent £571m compared to £555m the previous year, an increase of £16m.

The focus of our spending remains on teaching and research.

Our underlying staff costs in 2020/2021 were £329m compared to £326m the previous year.

Recruitment controls and low inflation have meant that staff costs grew by 1.1% in the year despite a 2.4% increase in average staff numbers. Staff costs as a proportion of income reduced from 57.3% to 54.5%.

Other operating costs (excluding depreciation) in 2019/20 were £188m compared to £175m the previous year.

This year saw the highest level of annual capital spend in the University’s history at £133.1m as the current investment programme reached its peak. Since the year-end we have been able to open Abacws, our new School of Mathematics and School of Computer Science and Informatics, the iconic Centre for Student Life, an upgraded Bute Building to accommodate the Welsh School of Architecture and sbarc|spark, our new innovation centre.

Analysis of 2020/21 spend by category

Category2020/212019/20
Academic departments£229m£235m
Research grants and contracts£82m£81m
Academic services£51m£32m
Other services rendered£32m£36m
Premises£47m£39m
Administration and central services£32m£30m
Residences, catering and conferences£12m£12m
Other expenses£43m£48m
Depreciation£41m£40m
Pension fund adjustments£2£2m
Voluntary severance scheme£0.5m-
Total expenditure£573m£500m