The College’s total income in 2018–19 was £1,073.8 million, up 3.9% on 2017–18. Over the last five years, income has grown an annualised 3.4% (excluding the one-off research and development credit of £60.7 million in 2014–15). This compares to an annualised inflation of 1.5% (CPI) over the same period.
The largest increase in absolute terms has been in tuition fees and education contracts, rising by £89.8 million since 2014–15. This is an average increase of 8.8% per annum on the back of student numbers rising by an annualised 4.1%.
Over the five-year period the largest increase in income in percentage terms has been from donations and endowments with annualised growth of 20.9%, which is helping us meet our strategic objective to strengthen and diversify our revenues.
This income source tends to be more volatile with year-on-year movements generally reflecting the value of large capital donations recognised in those years.
2018–19 Income by source (£ million)
Income from education
Income from tuition fees and education contracts grew by £17.3 million (5.8%) in 2018–19 to £313.2 million. Our student population has increased to 19,171, with postgraduate student numbers increasing by 5.4% and undergraduates by 2.9%. There has been a particularly high increase in part-time postgraduate students, increasing 17.8% in the year.
Overseas tuition fee income has grown more than our UK and other EU fee income. Driving factors behind this are higher growth in overseas students and the UK and other EU undergraduate fee being capped at £9,250 for 2017–18 and 2018–19.
The College has continued to see growth in applications at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. EU applications were up 5.6% from 2017–18 (undergraduate 3.6%; postgraduate 7.2%), despite the ongoing political uncertainty around Brexit.
Around a third of the College’s students are from outside the UK and the rest of the EU. This percentage has remained stable over the past few years but is dominated by a relatively small number of countries. We have recruited a new Head of Student Recruitment Strategy tasked with reducing this concentration risk.
Income from Funding Council grants
Grants from our Funding Councils (Office for Students, UK Research and Innovation) increased by £6.3 million (4.2%) in 2018–19 to £156.8 million. The teaching grant was broadly unchanged but there was additional money for research.
The latter includes funding for research degree programmes, a new strategic priorities fund supporting multidisciplinary programmes and funding from the Connecting Capability Fund which supports university collaboration in research commercialisation.
We also received the final tranche of £10.8 million of the £20 million capital grant towards the Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub, meaning capital grant income increased by £2.2 million year-on-year.
Income from research
Research grant and contract income in 2018–19 increased by £3.8 million compared to the prior year to £368.0 million. This includes capital funding, which can be volatile; stripping this out, underlying growth was 2.2%.
In 2018–19 the College won £344 million to fund research projects, lower than last year’s record high (£428 million) but in line with the two years prior to that. There is always a lag between the award of funding and the mobilisation of the research project, with the awards won in a given year spent over the life of the project (typically three to five years) and the income in the accounts matched to this in most cases.
The fact that the average value of awards won over the past two years is higher than current year reported income of £368 million provides some reassurance that research volume should continue to grow.
The source of research funding is important for financial sustainability, with many funders not covering the full cost of research projects. Industry funders typically contribute the most and research grants and contracts income from this source has grown 24% in the past five years in line with our strategy.
The value of new awards from industry increased by £10.0 million in 2018–19 and industry awards represented 21% of total new awards, up from 14% in 2014–15. Again, because of the time it takes to mobilise projects, this increase will only start to be reflected in the income booked from industry in future years.
Donations, Endowments and Other income
The record income recognised in the accounts from donations and endowments in 2018–19 comprises £23.8 million of research donations, £14.9 million for new endowments and £27.4 million of donations for capital projects.
The largest donation recognised in the year was £23.0 million from Community Jameel to support the fundraising campaign for the School of Public Health. Launched in June 2018, this ambitious £100 million campaign aims to fund a new hub for health and wellbeing research at the College’s White City Campus, supporting work in: World Health; Food and Nutrition; Community Health and Policy; and Children’s Health and Wellbeing.
Half of the total aspired to has been raised so far. Other income rose by £1.2 million to £152.1 million, with small movements across several of our income streams.