How tuition fees are spent

Find out where the money you pay for your degree goes and see a breakdown of how it is spent.

Where your money goes

As an organisation that receives funds from public sources, including the Office for Students and the Student Loan Company, we are committed to demonstrating value for money.

Our value for money commitment

The University will provide students with:

  • a transformative, high quality education and learning experience that will allow them to realise the futures that they want and to the benefit of society as a whole
  • high quality teaching and an excellent teaching and learning experience
  • positive employment outcomes
  • the skills needed to become the high-quality labour force and leaders required for the future development of the UK’s economy and society.

The University will maintain the value of a Sussex degree over the long term.

The University will ensure consumer protection to students.

Bar chart showing how the £9,250 UK undergraduate fee is spent

  • Academic schools and teaching
    £2,734 – 30%

  • Central University running costs
    £1,769 – 19%

  • Operating and maintaining campus
    £1,312 – 14%

  • Future investment
    £1,170 – 13%

  • Library and IT
    £824 – 9%

  • Widening access to University
    £740 – 8%

  • Student services and wellbeing
    £701 – 7%

Table showing how the £9,250 UK undergraduate fee is spent

 Proportion of feePercentage of feeIncludes
Academic departments and teaching £2,734 30% This is the cost of the academic staff who teach and support you, other school-based staff and the resources and equipment used in schools to support your academic learning.
Central University running costs £1,769 19% This covers teams who keep the University running, from Human Resources and Finance to Development and Alumni Relations, who keep us in touch with former students and undertake fundraising in support of scholarships and other programmes. It also includes our senior leaders.
Operating and maintaining campus: £1,312 14% This is the cost of running and maintaining our campus and keeping it safe and sustainable. It includes our learning and social spaces, our Library building and sport facilities. It does not include our student residences; these aren’t funded from your tuition fee.
Future investment £1,170 13% This is the portion of your fee we use to develop future services and facilities. A current student will be benefitting from the contribution of previous students. This investment directly helps to maintain and enhance the value of your Sussex qualification.
Library and IT £824 9% This is made up of all the staff and running costs of our Library and our IT team, IT equipment, infrastructure and technology to enhance your study experience.
Widening access to University £740 8% This is mostly spent on scholarships and bursaries to support access to University for students from all backgrounds. It includes our student recruitment and admissions teams as these are crucial to reaching and admitting potential students.
Student services and wellbeing £701 7% This includes staff and running costs of the central services that support students and help them to get the most from their time at Sussex. It includes careers, wellbeing, disability services, hardship support, sport and funding for the Students’ Union.

Recent investments

There are several recent investments we have made for students that show value for money.

Student Centre

We have opened a new Student Centre near Bramber House, costing £15 million. It is designed to fit the diverse needs of Sussex students. The project includes new technology to help staff support students.

Refurbishment of buildings

The University spent £19.5 million as part of ongoing investment in our strategic capital programme. Significant projects have included a biomedical research facility, lecture theatre refurbishment and updating our general infrastructure.

We also took the opportunity to maintain and upgrade teaching spaces on campus and teaching spaces and improve IT to support students.

Access to education for all

Tuition fees allow students from a range of backgrounds to go to university. We do this through our access and participation plan with the Office for Students.

We have also invested in making our campus more accessible for people with all disabilities.

Responding to Covid-19

We spent £1.7 million supporting the costs of Covid-19, helping students:

  • with on-campus accommodation, waiving fees over Government lockdowns if they were not living on campus, extending credit for payments and allowing students to end their tenancy agreements early with a 10% discount
  • facing quarantine during periods of self-isolation, including financial isolation payments for the affected period and practical support through the provision of daily meals, laundry and increased levels of localised sanitisation for those living on campus
  • who needed to follow Government quarantine requirements after travelling from abroad
  • with hardship funding for those most affected by the pandemic
  • by building a sense of community online with virtual social activities and learning events
  • explore a range of online learning and flexible degree options – our virtual learning tools, Panopto and Canvas, allowed us to continue delivering teaching through a difficult time.

Value to society

We bring benefits to the wider public by:

  • supporting research in key areas of knowledge that benefit society, including sustainability, children’s and adults’ mental health, the future of work, new digital technologies, the conservation of endangered plants and species
  • providing expertise and advice for governments and policymakers, such as the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO)
  • equipping graduates with a range of transferable skills, such as collaborative working and creative problem-solving, that are essential in the workplace.


Sussex is a research-intensive institution and our academic work has wide-ranging impact across the globe.

A small percentage of tuition fees allow us to provide world-class academic research that benefits society. Explore our research.

Our sustainability strategy

We have invested £2 million to support our sustainability strategy. Our strategic goal is for the University of Sussex to be one of the most sustainable universities in the world.

How university funding works

As an organisation that receives funds from public sources, including the Office for Students and the Student Loan Company, we are committed to demonstrating value for money.

Our main activities are education and research, but we also provide services such as consultancy.

We publish detailed annual accounts and an accessible summary of our finances. The summary shows the key areas of income and expenditure for the University of Sussex.

It is vital that we make an accounting surplus so we can continue to update and improve our IT service and our buildings and physical spaces. This reinvestment in our infrastructure ensures we provide the highest quality experience for staff, student and research sponsors.

As a charity established by Royal Charter, we have no shareholders and our funds are not distributed outside the University. All surpluses are invested into our education provision and research. This is one of the main ways we deliver value for money to taxpayers and students.

For transparency, we perform analysis on an annual basis using the TRAC-T (Transparency Review Approach to Costing- Teaching) conventions and we make annual returns to the Office for Students. This shows that, on an annual basis, our income for UK undergraduate teaching produces a result which is around break-even after allowing for a Margin for Sustainability and Investment. This fulfils the same purpose as an accounting surplus and allows for future investment.

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