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University of Reading response to Guardian article – University of Reading

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University of Reading response to Guardian article

Release Date 09 February 2019

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The Guardian today (Saturday 9 February) has reported that the University of Reading is reviewing the details of sale of land belonging to the National Institute for Research in Dairying trust and the University’s finances more generally. We do not recognise this as an accurate representation of the University’s finances.

The article also highlights a number of challenges facing the UK university sector in general, along with other financial issues that the University of Reading is currently dealing with, and suggests that this is symptomatic of wider problems in the UK university sector.

The University of Reading is in a sound position following changes to the UK higher education sector over the past decade, and has robust plans in place to deal with current and future challenges.

"We remain a respected institution with excellent teaching and research and the University is in a strong position to meet the future with confidence."

The University has expanded student recruitment by more than 30% over the past five years. We have continued to grow our global presence, with more students coming to our UK campuses from overseas, and experienced ongoing growth with international partners. Our world-class research profile has continued to grow, with a record level of research income awarded to Reading in 2017-18. We are ranked among the top 200 universities in the world.

The University is confident that it has responded appropriately to the issues relating to the sale of land that formed part of the assets of the National Institute for Research in Dairying trust. The details have already been set out in the University’s published financial statements.

The appropriate governance arrangements are now in place relating to the university’s management of the trust and this matter has no wider implications for the university’s ongoing financial position.

We remain a respected institution with excellent teaching and research and the University is in a strong position to meet the future with confidence.


Notes on the University's financial position:

  • At 31 July 2018 the University had c. £470m of net assets. This value has grown by 34% over the last five years.
  • Our annual turnover is £318 million, which has grown by 42% over the past five years with strong growth in both teaching and research activities. We have not grown excessively, but we have significantly more students now (26%) than we did five years ago.
  • Our surpluses generated (net) in the last five years total c. £80m and every penny has been reinvested in the University. 
  • The University has £188m of short and long term debt, a level comparable to many other Universities, and the cost of financing this has averaged 1.9% of our income. These funds, alongside the surplus generated, have been invested in a range of investment projects to benefit the University.
  • We have invested over £273m in our capital programme. The major individual projects have been the new Chancellor's building, a fully refurbished Library, the new Health & Life Sciences Building, and Thames Valley Science Park.
  • NIRD and RET Trusts are part of the wider University Group, with the University as the sole Trustee. Their combined assets are £220m. Their objectives are to further research and teaching at the University so over time the Trusts will fund activity and projects at the University, as they have also done in recent years.

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