Where do my University fees go?
Where do my fees go?
We recognise that you, our students, invest a great deal of your money, time and energy into the University, as part of your lifelong relationship with us.
Ours is a global organisation which helps students and staff contribute to society through education, research and knowledge exchange. We endeavour to use all of our resources including fees, funding, capital and infrastructure wisely, to fulfil our commitments to students, funders and partners - whilst ensuring the current and future success of the University. Each academic discipline plays a valuable part in the success of the University as a whole and funds are distributed carefully to ensure this is achieved. Financial decision making is scrutinised by the University Council and Senate, with student representation from the Students' Guild and the Students' Union. This is even more important as we face current challenges from the rising cost of living.
Our goal is to give you exceptional value for money by ensuring:
- that your learning, teaching, support and engagement in knowledge creation, through research and scholarship, are well resourced to enable you to succeed academically on your chosen degree programme and professionally in your career
- that you can develop your potential further, through a rich extra-curricular experience that complements your academic programme
- that your University is nationally and internationally competitive with an excellent reputation, both now and in the future. This adds value to your degree when you graduate and for your whole career, gives a continuing sense of pride and allows you to see the value of your commitment
We believe that through continual hard work and diligence, we have invested your fee wisely in order to provide the very best value for money.
Below is a breakdown of where and how your University fee was spent for the academic year 2021/2022. UK tuition fees are set by the UK Government and are the same across all disciplines. University fees make up a significant proportion of our income but there are other sources too. You can find out more about these in our Annual Report for 2021/22.
The figures below represent the latest information available (i.e. academic year 2021/22).
Teaching and Learning
At the heart of all we do at the University of Exeter, is the desire to create an outstanding teaching and learning environment, as outlined in our strategy for 2030.
To achieve this we need to attract and support leading academics from around the world, who are experts in their field. They work with you through teaching and research to create the best possible learning experience.
It is for this reason that the bulk of your University fee goes directly towards enhancing your academic experience. It is an investment we are committed to and one of the reasons why we are currently rated Gold within the Teaching Excellence Framework and we were top in the Russell Group for overall student satisfaction in the 2022 National Student Survey.
This supports a wide range of activities including:
- Academic salaries
- Access to your academic tutor who primarily offers academic guidance but also general advice, support and signposting
- Field trips
- Use of specialist equipment
- Salaries and administrative costs of the professional services staff who directly support teaching, including timetabling and other processes
Research and Scholarship
We know that our students place great value on learning alongside academics and practitioners who are experts in their field. We believe that learning in a research-rich environment adds significantly to the experience of our students especially when they have opportunities to undertake research, scholarship and discovery alongside our academics. The quality of these collaborations is illustrated by more than 100 published papers in international peer-reviewed research literature since 2014 that have student (undergraduate and taught postgraduate) co-authors. This research-intensive approach doesn’t just provide a valuable learning experience for our students but can open up new avenues of thought for the academics themselves.
The great majority of funding for research is won in competition with other universities and research organisations, and there are two main sources.
First, our academics undertake globally significant research projects funded by, and often in collaboration with, dedicated research councils, UK government departments including the NHS, European Union research funding, industry sources and charities such as medical charities tackling disease, and community organisations. These collaborations with other organisations help our academics and students to better understand the global challenges we face and identify new avenues of intellectual curiosity, alongside direct exposure to those organisations for our students.
Second, research and our cutting-edge facilities for research and teaching are supported by an annual grant known as Quality-Related (QR) funding which recognises the outstanding quality of our research, the impact that research has on society and the economy, and the vibrant environment we create for research and innovate teaching. This is evaluated through the Research Excellence Framework. The University’s reputation globally is strongly aligned to the quality and impact of Exeter research. You can read about the difference this research has been making here.
In recognition of the symbiotic relationship between education and learning and research, the contribution that it makes to your development into graduates of distinction and to the international competitiveness of the University, a proportion of total tuition fee income supports research and scholarship.
In order to attract the best students and academics and to ensure the value of your degree is maintained long after you graduate, we must continually invest in our future. This includes capital investments which help to bring the very best facilities for your student experience and enhance our teaching and research capabilities.
During the past decade we have invested hundreds of millions of pounds in our campuses, including the creation of innovative and stunning new buildings such as The Forum, Living Systems Institute (LSI), Science and Engineering Research Support Facility (SERSF), South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT), Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre, engineering learning spaces in Harrison (pictured above) and new student residences East Park, in partnership with UPP.
We have committed to investing a further £428.5 million over the next ten years. We continue to invest in our campuses and we have a number of projects in progress that will complete in the next five years, such as the new Centre for Resilience Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) in partnership with South West Water, a new Multi-Faith Centre, a new wellbeing services space, the Al Qasimi Building to expand interdisciplinary research on the Middle East region and Global South, and modern, low-carbon student residences West Park.
We also use other sources of income to create the best facilities to support the student and academic experience. And just as the students before you have invested in future facilities which have come to fruition in time for your studies, so you will play your part in ensuring the University of Exeter's future students can also grow and thrive within the best possible learning environment.
Our excellent academics need the right facilities in order to support delivery of your degree. This includes lecture theatres, seminar rooms, academic offices, laboratories and specialist areas, as well as social and study space within academic buildings.
We continually invest in our teaching and academic space. Additional spending includes:
- Maintenance of buildings
- Reduced value of buildings over time (building depreciation)
We believe strongly that financial circumstances, or a lack of awareness of higher education opportunities, should not prevent someone from attending university and having the opportunity to reach their full potential. It’s important that we continue to recruit the most talented students in order to contribute to our highly successful and thriving international University.
Our student recruitment, outreach and widening participation teams work to promote the University to new students across the world. They also make school visits throughout the UK to increase awareness of higher education in general and what our University can offer. Many students work alongside our outreach, recruitment and admissions teams as paid Student Ambassadors at our very successful Open Days, providing advice and guidance in schools and within our fair access programmes to support disadvantaged students make informed choices about their future.
We have a range of scholarships and bursaries available to students and 9% of University fees go towards supporting this important area. Scholarships and bursaries are awarded to students who meet certain criteria and include:
- Access to Exeter bursaries – for undergraduate home fee-paying students with a household income below £25,000 (increased to £30,000 for 2023/23)
- Care leavers' bursaries
- Estranged students' bursaries
- Sanctuary Scholarship
- Sports scholarship
- Subject specific scholarships
Our 'Success for All Fund' provides hardship support to students facing financial difficulties and during the Covid pandemic and cost of living crisis has disbursed around £2m each year to help students in crisis. A range of funding support is available to help with year round hardship, emergency support, IT affordability, diagnostic assessments and DSA contributions.
Other income streams also contribute to the scholarship and bursary provision, including some scholarships established through the generosity of our alumni, including our Exeter Scholars programme.
Establishing the University of Exeter as one of the top institutions in the UK and the world, with exceptional student experience, has required and continues to demand skilled and expert leadership.
The University's Senior Management team is led by its Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, along with the Provost, Registrar and Deputy Vice-Chancellors. Together they develop and implement the leading strategy needed to provide students with the best possible University experience. They are supported in this by eight Professional Services, including around 3,000 vital support staff (full-time equivalent). These Services are supported by tuition fees and other University income and they include the following activities:
- Alumni and supporters: Our alumni community helps you keep in contact with the University following graduation and introduces you to a wide network of thousands of fellow graduates from all around the world. Our graduates also help students and recent graduates while you are at university, in areas such as careers advice and mentoring. Last year nearly 4,000 graduates actively volunteered with us - giving more than 14,000 hours of their time
- Impact, Innovation and Business: Our Innovation, Impact and Business work helps to support our world-class research and education to make a real difference in society. It seeks to create opportunities for collaborations, drives place-based innovation and helps our academics to generate research impact. IIB also builds key relationships with leading partner organisations and generates income to support the University
- Human Resources (HR): this element of the tuition fee funds the HR element which supports academic staff and those involved directly with the student experience
- Finance: In the 2021/22 financial year, the University had a total income of £587 million. Ours is a dynamic institution operating across several campuses and interacting with students, staff, alumni and partners from around the world. Our highly skilled finance team oversees the University’s complex accounts and budgets
- Compliance, Governance and Risk: ensuring we operate safely and legally is fundamental to everything we do. Our team of experts offers professional advice, support and guidance to University staff on institutional, academic and corporate governance. It also oversees key aspects of legislative and regulatory compliance
- Policy, Planning and Business Intelligence: We want the University and its students and staff to continue to thrive long into the future, thus ensuring an Exeter graduate is much sought after. In order to create the right strategies to do this, the senior executive team needs high quality and relevant information. Our expert teams provide the very latest data, analysis, monitoring and reporting to inform our strategic planning.
These teams are also supported by funding from other sources of income, such as research.
Ensuring we have the right library and IT facilities to support your studies is fundamental to your success, which is why 8% is spent on maintaining and investing in these crucial services.
This gives to access to a number of library facilities such as:
- Access to Penryn & Streatham Campus libraries
- 1.25 million diverse digital resources and around 1 million physical resources (books, journals and audio-visual). At Penryn Campus library, this also includes access to 25,000 videos and DVDs and 3,000 geological maps
- Access to a number of archives and special collections
- Our library champions help to guide what the library provides every year
- A range of study spaces from silent to group study available 24/7
- Support with finding and using resources through a 24/7, 365 chat service, libguides, workshops and 1:1 appointments.
As well as a number of IT facilities such as:
- The iExeter app available on your mobile and computer, giving you access to your email, timetable, calendar, documents, library accounts and more
- IT service desk – assisting with issues around internet access to virus problems, as well as running laptop clinics
- Access to specialist software in IT suites
- Free downloads of key software such as Microsoft office
Having good health and wellbeing are important so that you can study effectively. We spend 4% of your University fee on making sure you have access to the wellbeing support you need.
- On-campus surgery: you can access a doctor on campus at the Student Heath Centres located on our Streatham and Penryn campuses
- Wellbeing services: we offer a range of wellbeing and support services through our Wellbeing team at our Devon campuses and Student Support at our Cornwall campuses
- Disability support: Accessibility teams across our campuses are available to support students with disabilities, making sure you can fully participate with university life.
Additional support available on campus, which is funded through other streams include:
- Advice service: The Students' Union and Students' Guild offer independent, confidential and impartial advice on money, housing and academic matters.
- Childcare: nursery places are available for students at childcare facilities on the Streatham and Penryn campuses
- Religious support: the multi-faith chaplains across our campuses provide support and instruction in a range of faiths. They can also signpost you to places of worship both on campus and in the local area
We don’t just focus on your academic life with us, we also provide services to support you in making the right career choice following graduation and secure employment as you begin your career. That’s why we spend 1% of your fee on the Career Zone and other employability opportunities.
This provides access to:
- The Career Zone: offering help with career planning, building up the right skills and job hunting from the minute you start university, up until three years after graduation. The services they offer include:
- Career guidance and 1:1 appointments
- Internships and placements
- Employer presentations
- Handshake access
- CV guidance
- Practice interviews
- Skills sessions
- Careers Mentors
- Careers fairs
- The Exeter Award and Exeter Leaders’ Award
- In-college employability support staff are available in colleges. They are there to help with discipline specific employability queries.
We believe sport and wellness should be embedded into student life so we make sure we support a range of fantastic opportunities.
- In Devon this means access to a number of facilities at the Sports Park and St Luke’s Sports Centre including fitness suites, all-weather pitches, swimming pools and more. It also includes the huge variety of sports clubs available through the Athletic Union.
The University of Exeter is unique in having two Students’ Unions supporting students and they play an integral role in your student experience. Each year we give the Students’ Unions a block grant to spend on opportunities and services to support you. This is equivalent to 1% of your University fee.
In Cornwall, students are represented by The Students' Union. Their opportunities and services include:
- Representation through SU Presidents, student officers and academic representatives
- Advice service providing confidential support for financial, housing and academic issues
- Welcome events and activities
- 145 student-led groups, covering sports clubs, societies and student-led volunteer projects
- Volunteering and fundraising
- Access to a huge variety of sports clubs run by the Students' Union
In Devon students are represented by The Students’ Guild. Their opportunities and services include:
- Representation through the Full-Time Officer Team and the student reps
- Over 300 societies and student groups
- Leadership and development opportunities
- Free and low-cost trips to explore the best attractions in Devon and the UK
- Paid job opportunities for students
- Free, impartial advice service
- Volunteering and fundraising
The University is a multi-million pound institution. In 2021/22 alone our total income was £587 million. In order to remain one of the top universities in the world the University also has to invest heavily in new infrastructure and facilities.
In common with many large scale companies, the University seeks to raise income at times when interest rates are competitive, in order to maximise its investment opportunities. This does mean that a proportion of your fees (1%) goes towards meeting those interest rate costs.
This is a new initiative and we will update and improve this information in future years, as spending may change year on year.
If you have any questions please visit the Frequently Asked Questions.
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