Breakdown of income

Pie chart showing breakdown of the University's income 2018-19

Note: Percentages have been rounded to the nearest percentage point for clarity.


The University has a number of income sources to support its work, including student fees and education contracts, government grants, other income through commercial activities including residences, catering and conferences, as well as donations. 
We also attract research grants from charities, research councils, companies and other organisations that help us fund our world-class research activity.  

This income is used to support a wide range of activity including teaching and learning, cutting-edge research, knowledge exchange and community engagement. Research-based teaching and learning excellence, a high-quality student experience and successful student outcomes are at the centre of everything we do at the University.

In 2018/19 we received income of £400 million from student fees and education contracts, alongside £151 million from research grants and contracts. This was supported by government grants of £78 million, with £27 million of this relating to teaching activity and £51 million to research. The remainder of our income was made up of £63 million for residences, catering and conferences and £100 million from other income streams, such as donations. 

Our finances are carefully managed and we maintain a surplus which helps give scope for investment. In 2018/19 we generated total income of £792 million, resulting in an underlying surplus for investment of £42 million, which will contribute towards our major capital projects which underpin the University strategy and continue to provide first-class teaching and research facilities. Our ongoing strategic investment programme will position our University as a major force in sector-leading approaches to teaching and challenge-led research, supporting the emphasis on internationalisation and our contributions to the city and the region. 

Breakdown of expenditure

Pie chart showing breakdown of the University's expenditure 2018-19

Note: Percentages have been rounded to the nearest percentage point for clarity.

Expenditure plus the surplus for reinvestment in 2018/19 totalled £792 million. Of this, £619 million supported teaching and the student experience here at Leeds and this is broken down further in the next section. The remaining £173 million spend comprises £108 million direct research expenditure and £65 million on residences, catering and conferences – neither of these are funded by student fees.

How do student fees contribute to the costs of running our University? 

Pie chart showing the costs supporting teaching and student experience 2018-19

Note: Percentages have been rounded to the nearest percentage point for clarity.

Student fees and education contracts totalling £400 million represent a significant portion of our University income, which contribute to the £619 million costs necessary to support teaching, research-based teaching and an excellent student experience.

Our students' fees pay for lecturers and other academic staff, building maintenance, as well as maintaining equipment and laboratories. At £270 million this makes up a significant proportion of our expenditure, as we want to ensure our students get the best possible education. We provide this by investing in teaching facilities and attracting teaching staff who are actively engaged in pioneering research.

Student fees also contribute to our student support and academic services, which are important to student experience. In 2018/19 we spent £41 million on student support, which includes services such as counselling, disability support and financial advice. We also spent £88 million on our IT, library and academic services whose facilities aid learning outside of the lecture theatre and are accessible to all of our students. Furthermore, we are proud to invest £49 million in scholarships and bursaries to ensure all our students have the opportunity to realise their potential, regardless of background. 

We also need to spend money behind the scenes on essential things that keep our University running, like utilities, insurance, maintaining the estate and the wide range of staff who provide essential services, for example cleaning, human resources and IT. In 2018/19 we spent £129 million on these activities – £80 million on our estate, £42 million on general running costs and £7 million on other expenditure. 

Investment in our campus 

Our programme of investment to transform the University campus is well advanced, with recently completed developments including a £38 million innovation and enterprise centre, Nexus, and an £11 million investment into farming research partnered by the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock. 

Ongoing projects include:

  • £96 million Sir William Henry Bragg Building, which will see the integration of engineering, computing and physical sciences.
  • £32 million refurbishment of the Faculty of Biological Sciences, which will enable interdisciplinary life sciences research on the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
  • £76 million redevelopment to support the expansion of the Leeds University Business School and cutting edge pedagogy.
  • £79 million Leeds Engineering Technology Campus, including a new Institute for High Speed Rail, a Systems Integration Centre and the National Centre for Infrastructure Materials.
  • £53 million Generating Station Complex (due to complete soon), a joint development with Leeds Teaching Hospitals to modernise our power generation facility.

In 2019 we also undertook smaller projects across campus and were involved in projects further afield, including: the completed build of the Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research at Bradford Royal Infirmary, a refurbishment of the Parkinson Building Language Centre, and a further upgrade of Central Teaching space, including a refresh of Lecture Capture equipment.

For more information about our investments visit our campus developments webpage.