University of Bolton Financial Statements
The University has for the 11th year running reported an operating surplus. In this case, £2,006,000 (2015: £2,577,000) (on a historical cost basis) which is equal to 4.2% (2015: 5.4%) of turnover in the year.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The University measures its performance using a variety of tools. Easily quantifiable measures that consider past financial performance covering surplus generation, finance and liquidity, growth and capital employed have all performed well given the challenges faced.
The University’s KPIs for short term sustainability are achievement of the budgeted operating surplus/deficit and maintenance of cash balances at or above the budgeted level.
Longer term sustainability depends on the University’s ability to continue to attract and retain students on our campus, and develop other income in a highly competitive and rapidly changing international market place for higher education.
The University’s KPIs for long term sustainability will be measured by the achievement of targeted progress towards platinisation of provision, continued improvement of the quality of the campus estate and facilities, and achievement of income targets for off campus operations.
The combination of short and long term sustainability has served the University well and is considered by the Board to be a sound basis going forward.
Principal Risks and Uncertainties
The University initially established a tiered fee structure for the new funding regime, which kept it within the government’s guideline of maintaining its average fees below £7,500 for home funded full time students; this maintained the University’s allocated student numbers (SNC) which the University recruited, and thus maximised its fee income for the year 2013-14. This position was successfully consolidated in 2014-15, and given a better understanding of the student market and its demand inelasticity with respect to price, fees were realigned to the market norm of £9,000pa for UG FT courses. This was enabled by the relaxation of the notional £7,500 limiter, and the signalled removal by Government of the SNC cap. As a result the University rationally maximised fee income in the market conditions prevailing.
Looking ahead however, and notwithstanding the decisions taken on financial matters, the challenges are unlikely to decrease in an ever increasingly competitive marketplace void of any student number control mechanism.