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Financial Information

Financial Information for the year to 31 July 2016

We present the full financial results for King’s in our Financial Statements but this part of our website explains the university’s finances in a less formal and more accessible way.

This is how we performed in the year to 31July 2016;


King’s is a charity and any surplus we make is reinvested to further the academic strategy. Surplus can be measured at a number of levels; the two most important being total Comprehensive Income and Operating Surplus.

We reported Comprehensive Income of £60.4m in our accounts and this included just under £38m from property disposals. The disposals are part of our financial strategy and we are reinvesting the proceeds to bridge the gap until the new academic initiatives (such as the Business School) become fully operational.

Changes in accounting rules will affect the way our results will look from now on. We need to include donations and capital grants in the year they are received which will make for more volatility in our results from year to year in the future.  We also now include adjustments that reflect potential future pension commitments. Our Comprehensive Income also included ad hoc/trading surpluses and other one-off income and adjusting for these results in an operating surplus of £5m or 0.7% return on income.

This was better than we expected, largely because our expectations around student recruitment were cautious and our admissions cycle was buoyant but it also reflects timing around staff recruitment.  Longer term we need to generate about 4% operating returns to fund our academic strategy.

These are some of the financial indicators we monitor on a regular basis:




Total comprehensive income for the year



Total income



Operating surplus



Net cash flow from operating activities as a % of total income



Discretionary reserves as a % of total income



External borrowings as a % of total income



Net liquidity days

167 days

181 days

Research: new and renewed awards (forward order book)



Fund-raising: new cash and pledges for the university and partners



The financial indicators are focussed around measures of financial sustainability. For King’s, this means managing our resources so that we can meet spending commitments both now and in the future in support of our academic mission. In practice this means we need

  • A strong balance sheet
  • Income diversification
  • Sound financial planning and administration
  • The ability to generate surpluses for investment

We also look at non-financial aspects of sustainability;

Credit rating




Standard & Poor’s



Standard & Poor’s is a global credit rating agency that publishes independent assessments of an institution’s financial health. They have awarded King’s a strong credit rating based on our strong enterprise profile and rising student demand. They assessed our financial profile as “very strong, supported by strong financial performance and extremely strong financial resources”, although the current rating is lower than in 2014-15 reflecting the lowering of the sovereign rating for the UK following the outcome of the referendum in which the country voted to leave the EU.

Diversity and inclusion




Overseas students: % of total student intake



Staff: % of female professors



Black and minority ethnicity (BME) students: % of total intake



Students: % attainment gap in first-class degrees for BME students



King’s is committed to embedding good diversity and inclusion practice into all of its activities so that it becomes a richer and more diverse place to work and study. The university has a dedicated Disability Advisory Service which provides information and support to disabled students and advises staff about engaging with disabled students

Global university rankings

King’s continued to perform strongly in the various global league table rankings.




Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Rankings

21st (2015–16)

19th (2014–15)

Times Higher Education (THE) World Rankings 2016–17

36th (2016–17)

27th (2015–16)

Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJT) Academic Ranking of World Universities

50th (2016)

55th (2015)

Combined global ranking (QS, THE and SJT)

36th (2015–16)

34th (2014–15)

Student experience




Undergraduate National Student Survey (NSS) results, composite score[1]



Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) results, composite score[2]



Undergraduate entrants’ average entry tariff points[3]

453.2 (2015)

451.3 (2014)

Student employability[4]



[1] The composite score is the equally weighted average of the ‘Teaching’, ‘Learning’ and ‘Overall satisfaction’ sections from the NSS.

[2] The composite score is the equally weighted average of the ‘Teaching’, ‘Learning’ and ‘Overall satisfaction’ sections from the PTES.

[3] HESA, based on registered undergraduate students (data one year in arrears).

[4] Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, UK/EU undergraduates in graduate-level work or further study six months after completing their course (data one year in arrears). 

Where our income comes from


Just over one third of our income comes from Government sources and is spread across categories such as fees, research grants and HEFCE grants. This includes income from the NHS reflecting the important role we play in health education and research, grants from the Government to reflect the cost of providing high quality teaching and research and income we generate on a competitive basis from publicly funded research institutions.

36% of our income comes from tuition fees, including money we get from the NHS to teach our nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and dieticians. And cut another way, our income includes just over 30% that’s matched, that is, we receive it to fund specific expenditure. This typically includes research grants and work done for the NHS.

How King's spent its money


56% of our costs related to pay and this includes staff on research contracts whose costs are, at least in part, recovered via the grant income. It also includes a number of clinical academics for whom a proportion of costs are reimbursed by the NHS. The next largest category is expenditure on premises (13% of the total) covering utilities, maintenance, rent and rates.

As well as the operating costs of premises we also invested £88m in new developments during the year of which £33m was spent on student facilities. Some of the biggest projects included Bush House, Chemistry laboratories, space for psychology teaching and space for practicing clinical skills. We have a rolling programme of general upgrades to teaching and learning rooms which adds up to about £5m each year.    


Why we need to make a surplus

King’s is a charity whose objects are to advance education and promote research for the public benefit. We are a “not for profit” organisation, which means our income has to cover our expenditure and investment needs if we are to support our students and our research endeavour over the long term. We plan to generate a surplus of income over expenditure to afford our future investment needs as we no longer receive grants from the government to finance our capital budgets.

Where is this year’s surplus being spent?

The surplus will be invested in a range of capital projects including a rolling programme of investment in technology, premises and in learning and teaching facilities across the university.

Why do we talk about needing a strong balance sheet and what does one look like?

A strong balance sheet means an organisation is more likely to be financially sustainable and can weather changes in the economic environment more easily. There’s no single definition of a strong balance sheet but it generally means more assets than liabilities, enough cash to pay bills as they fall due and enough income to comfortably cover borrowings.

Why are fees for overseas students higher?

Our teaching for home/eu students is funded partly by the UK Government giving us a set amount for teaching each student and the Government also gives us grants to fund academic research which in turn informs our teaching.  We don’t get government funding for any of our international students which is why we have to charge the full cost of teaching through higher fees.

Why can’t you tell me exactly where my fee goes?

We have range of fees, depending on whether you are a “home” (eg UK or EU) student, the subject you’re studying and whether you are studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level. We also have a number of different sources of income. Some of these income sources are matched to specific expenditure; for example income we receive to reimburse us for services provided to the NHS, but otherwise we use all our income to support all our activities and we don’t, for example, put income received from a medical student into a fund that is only used for medical students.

 Fees contribute about 36% of our income and about one third of our expenditure in 2015-16 was spent in the academic departments (for example employment costs) and on general education expenditure such as studentships but this doesn’t  include things like premises costs and other student support functions.

 How are my fees set?

The Government determines how much tuition fee income we receive from students by setting the maximum level of tuition fee we can charge to home/eu students and it also partly regulates the number of undergraduate students we can recruit by setting limits on medical and dental student numbers.  The current £9,000 maximum level of tuition fee for home undergraduate students will rise to £9,250 for students starting their study in 2017/18 and may be subject to annual inflationary increases thereafter.

Currently EU domiciled students pay the same fees as UK students and following the results of the EU Referendum King’s confirmed that for those already studying here fees will rise only by small annual inflationary increases. Longer term will depend on Government legislation arising from the EU exit negotiations.

Home undergraduate students applying for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health programmes will also be affected by changes in Government policy and will pay the new £9,250 fee on starting in 2017-18 but they will also have access to the student loans scheme.

Fees for other students (mainly post graduate and international students at all levels of study) are reviewed annually and set against a background of the cost of the programme, publicly available competitor information and demand.

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