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In March 2014 we published a circular letter and reports on presenting income and expenditure information to students. This was to encourage greater transparency to students and the wider public about how institutions spend their income.

Our approach was based on a survey of 2,400 students that showed there was significant interest in this type of information but that of the students who looked for this information, 40 per cent were unable to find it and once the information was found, 44 per cent of students said it was difficult to understand.

The key areas identified for improving financial information were:

  • to make the information easier to find by positioning it more obviously on institutions’ own web-sites
  • to make the information visually clear
  • to provide a useful but not excessive level of detail
  • to explain technical language.

We asked universities to provide information on their income and expenditure in a way that meets students’ needs by January 2015. We emphasised the importance of dialogue with students to ensure that provided information that students wanted.

We’ve identified a number of good practice case studies to highlight different solutions adopted and the way in which institutions have developed these. We are also working with the Association of Colleges to consider any supporting material colleges may find useful.