University of Sheffield reveals it has already lost £10 million in income due to Covid-19

The University of Sheffield has already lost over £10 million due to Covid-19 with losses expected to be even higher next year.

Sunday, 24th May 2020, 10:28 am
Updated Monday, 25th May 2020, 10:50 am

Since closing all of its buildings in March, the university has lost millions of pounds in income from student residences, conferences, catering, and sports activities as well as research income from funders.

Jo Jones, Chief Financial Officer at The University of Sheffield, described the losses as “significant” in an open letter to staff members on May 18, in which they were informed on the steps needed to “protect and improve” the university’s financial position.

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The University of Sheffield, Firth Court

She said the university has been able to manage the losses so far after taking a number of immediate measures to build “cash balances, such as pausing all capital projects, other than those with contractual obligations, adding that next year now needs “greater attention”.

Prior to the pandemic, the university had expected to receive £780 million during the 2020/21 academic year made up of £346 million in course fees, £238 million in research grant income, £87 million in council grant funding, and £110 million from other income.

Of the £346 in course fees, £177 million relates directly from international students – and with the number of students travelling from overseas next year expected to decrease significantly, the university is facing financial hardship.

And, although it is receiving an “encouraging level of international student applications” there is also a risk that some Year 13’s in the UK may defer their study for a year as a result of the pandemic.

The message sent by Jo Jones, Chief Financial Officer at The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is looking ahead to the potential that home student intake could drop by 25 per cent, resulting in losses of around £70 million,

It is also preparing for the scenario where there will no international students – equal to 50 per cent of total tuition fees – which could see a £162 million reduction in the income received.

The Chief Financial Officer said the university is now discussing further actions that could be taken to mitigate the significant shortfall in income.

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield added: "As is the case for all universities across the UK, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the way we are able to operate,” a spokesperson for the University of Sheffield added.

The message sent by Jo Jones, Chief Financial Officer at The University of Sheffield

“We don’t yet know the full impact of the pandemic but we have already seen a loss of revenue from our accommodation, campus and conference activity and we are modelling some difficult financial scenarios based on how Covid-19 may affect our next academic year.

"Our current priority is building cash flow resilience to mitigate financial risk and we are taking actions to make savings, including reviewing pending staff recruitment, determining essential spend, pausing capital projects and accessing available government support.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure we remain in the strongest financial position possible but it is important that students know that we are committed to their education, development and graduate opportunities and that will not change, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.”

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