Investing in the future

Our income and expenditure

As you would expect of a university with a community of 16,507 students (excluding partner colleges) and on average 1,520 staff during the 2020/21 academic year, our income and expenditure fall within a wide variety of categories.

We’re committed to being transparent about that in order to inform current and future students, and the wider public, and you can find a breakdown of this below. For more in-depth detail, you can download our financial statement for the year ending 31 July 2021 (pdf 691kb).

How the university is funded

In 2020/21, we received £162.4 million, £134.3 million of which came from tuition fees. The rest of our income came from funding council or research grants, commercial activities, and endowment and investment income. This is a full breakdown of our funding sources across the year:

£134.3m
Tuition fees and education contracts – the money paid by students and overseas students to the university towards the cost of their degree
£10m
Other operating income – the money raised by the university from catering, accommodation, conferences and other commercial activities
£13.2m
Funding council grants awarded by the government and allocated by the Office for Students as well as Research England. The research allocation is based on research quality and goes to fund further research
£4.5m
Research grants – grants awarded by external bodies (such as companies or charities) to help fund research
£0.4m
Endowment and investment income – interest received on cash balances as well as donations received (predominantly to support student scholarships and research)

2020/21 spending chart

We use our income to fund a wide range of activities to support our students’ experience. This includes the development and maintenance of our buildings and facilities, running each of our four faculties, providing student accommodation, bursaries, student wellbeing and support, and library, IT and academic services.

Not surprisingly, we invest a lot in people, from academic staff based in our faculties, such as lecturers and tutors, to those responsible for monitoring academic quality and staff in our professional services, who oversee the management and development of the university, as well as staff supporting student wellbeing.

Select each segment from the pie chart for a brief explanation of each category — you also find more detailed definitions below.

Running academic faculties — Paying for staff and facilities within our faculties £58.4m
Providing library, IT and academic services — The resources that help you learn £22.7m
Administration and central running costs — Organisational running costs £12.1m
Providing student bursaries and scholarships — Helping people with their learning £8.8m
General education expenditure — Marketing, fundraising and alumni £6.6m
Providing staff and student facilities — Student Services (additional learning support, careers, frontline services), SportBU, Student Union grant, student hardship payments, day nursery £11.4m
Maintaining buildings and facilities — Keeping property up to date £20.4m
Providing residences and catering — Housing and catering £7.2m
Undertaking research activities — Research support costs £4.7m
Pension adjustment and subsidiaries — Accounting adjustment related to the pension liability £14.8m
Studengts in lecture theatre

Running academic faculties

This covers all expenditure directly incurred by, or on behalf of, academic departments – in other words, money invested in developing and delivering our broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and other courses.

There are four faculties across BU – the Bournemouth University Business School, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, Faculty of Media & Communication and Faculty of Science & Technology – with each comprising between four and six departments. Running these accounted for 34.9% of the university’s expenditure in 2020/21 at £58.4m.

Explore our faculties


Students in the Weston Library

Providing library, IT and academic services

Our expenditure on academic services includes running learning resource centres and our libraries on our Talbot and Lansdowne campuses.

On Talbot, The Sir Michael Cobham Library is home to our largest collection of printed resources, in addition to multimedia and electronic resources. This includes a substantial collection of e-books and e-journals that can be accessed via our virtual learning environment and mobile app. 

On Lansdowne, the Weston Library in Bournemouth Gateway Building houses resources mainly for the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences and postgraduate students within the BU Business School.

This category also covers expenditure to support research activities and global engagement, as well as promoting service excellence. The £22.7m spent in 2020/21 included investing in the provision and maintenance of IT equipment and computer networks for our community of students and staff.

Explore the Sir Michael Cobham Library IT information Explore the Weston Library


Talbot Campus is where you'll find facilities such as The Sir Michael Cobham Library, the Student Centre (where our Students' Union offices are based), the £22 million Fusion Building and the brand new Poole Gateway Building

Administration and central running costs

This category accounts for expenditure on the functions at the core of running the university, including Human Resources, Finance and the Office of the Vice-Chancellor (OVC).

The university employed more than 1,500 people in 2021 across academic and professional support roles. Our Human Resources department holds a diverse range of responsibilities for ensuring our staff work in an environment that champions equality, professional development and excellence for the benefit of everyone at BU.

The OVC works closely with the University Executive Team (UET) and the University Leadership Team (ULT) to support a range of corporate activities within BU to ensure the smooth running of the university. It is made up of the Vice-Chancellor, John Vinney, members of the UET, and those who support them. The OVC also includes other central functions working across BU, such as business continuity and policy and public affairs.

Find out more about our governance


Providing student bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of non-repayable financial support to students.

This includes a selection of scholarships for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, recognising academic, sporting or musical achievements.

The bursaries we provide for eligible students include the Care Leavers, Social Work, BU Maintenance and Student Carer’s bursary. This financial support comprised £8.8m (5.3%) of the university’s expenditure in 2020/21.

Undergraduate fees and funding Postgraduate fees and funding


A student ambassador outside the Fusion Building on Talbot Campus, with guests and other ambassadors in the background

General education expenditure

Accounting for £6.6m (3.9%) of our expenditure in 2020/21, a wide range of university activities come under the umbrella of ‘General education’.

This includes community engagement activities and education events, working with our alumni community of BU graduates, summer schools that offer young people a flavour of university life, and engaging with local schools.

This expenditure also covers our marketing and student recruitment activity and the Open Days we hold throughout the year. Furthermore, it accounts for student administration costs and our work on widening participation and enacting our Access and Participation Plan.

Our work with schools and colleges Download our Access and Participation Plan (pdf 584kb)


BU Women's Basketball Team

Providing staff and student facilities

BU is a sizeable community within the local area, comprising more than 18,000 people across our students and staff.

A community of that size does, of course, present a wide variety of needs. That’s where this £11.4m expenditure comes in. It covers student services such as Unibuses, additional learning support (ALS), career support, advice services such as AskBU and health & wellbeing.

The facilities and services offered by SportBU also fall under this category, as do emergency loans for students who experience delays in receiving government funding, and our chaplaincy and day nursery provision.

Visit our SportBU pages Explore our Students section


The Poole Gateway Building on Talbot Campus

Maintaining buildings and facilities

We’ve invested in some major developments across our campuses over the past decade. Most recently, that includes the Bournemouth Gateway Building on our Lansdowne Campus and the Poole Gateway Building on our Talbot Campus.

The former is the home of the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, offering 10,000 square metres of space and providing a unified base for the faculty’s education, research and office activities, which previously took place across several buildings in the Lansdowne area. Meanwhile, Poole Gateway houses a variety of production facilities, including two television studios, a green screen studio, a sound stage, music studios, computer labs and production suites.

These state-of-the-art additions to BU are part of a modern and varied estate, and our expenditure of £20.4m in 2020/21 covered costs such as maintenance, rent, cleaning and repairs across all of our buildings and infrastructure.

It also accounts for energy costs, and you’ll notice our investment in energy-saving measures across our campuses – including the extensive use of solar panels to generate 5% of our electricity use, with the aim to generate 10% of our energy from renewables by 2025.

Explore our campuses Sustainability at BU


Providing residences and catering

We work with a number of private accommodation partners to offer BU students a range of halls of residence across Bournemouth and Poole, as well as leasing and operating the Student Village on our Talbot Campus.

This £7.2m expenditure accounts for our investment into running for this provision, including energy, maintenance and operational costs.

It also covers our investment in catering services provided on campus.

Visit our accommodation pages


Hump-backed mahseer 3

Undertaking research activities

Our academic community is involved in a diverse range of research across areas such as healthcare, tourism, disaster management, culture and creative industries, and protecting endangered species and ecosystems.

You can visit our research section to discover more about the extent and impact of our academics’ projects. You’ll also find details of the many funding bodies that support this work, such as research councils, charities, government bodies, the European Commission and industry partners.

The £4.7m expenditure in 2020/21 is the direct cost of this funded research.

View our research projects Explore what makes BU different


Pension adjustment and subsidiaries

This final category is an accounting entry required predominantly for the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), one of the largest public sector pension schemes in the UK.

Loan servicing refers to interest payable on bank loans.