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In 2013 HEFCE commissioned two research reports:

  • Research into the options for the presentation of financial information
  • Defining a model to convey university and college financial information

This research was commissioned to develop an understanding of how higher education providers currently make information about their institutional income and expenditure available, if current students are looking for this information and if, when they find it, they can engage with it.

The research identified that:

  • a survey of 2,400 current students demonstrated that there was interest in this type of information
  • the range of financial information published by higher education providers is limited and not always easy to find
  • institutional income and expenditure information is often difficult to understand
  • there is no universally preferred model for the presentation of this type of information.

Research undertaken with current students identified the following key areas for improving the provision of information on institutional income and expenditure:

  • make the information more accessible
  • position it clearly on institutions’ own web-sites
  • make the information clear
  • provide a useful level of detail.

HEFCE has issued guidance to higher education providers, which recommends that they use the outcomes of this research to work with their student bodies in order to develop an approach which ensures that current students can access the advised level of income and expenditure information.