Show/hide main menu

Financial Information

Financial information

Financial Report for the year to 31 July 2015

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 31 July 2015:

The surplus included some things that are nonrecurring, such as the disposal of properties and credits from the government in relation to research expenditure so that the underlying “normal” surplus was a more modest £20.3m. This was better than we expected, largely because our expectations around student recruitment were cautious and our admissions cycle was buoyant but is less than we need to finance our capital expenditure budget.

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




Total income



Historical cost surplus



Historical cost surplus as a % of income



External borrowings as a % of income



Net cash flow from operating activities as a % of income



Net liquidity days

180 days

76 days

Staff numbers, average headcount



Student numbers, July return to the Higher Education Statistics Agency



Undergraduate student satisfaction
  with teaching  (1)
  with course overall



Undergraduate entrants’ average entry tariff points (based on best 3 A-levels) (2)



Student employability (3)



Research: new and renewed awards (forward order book)



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



  1. Percentage of respondents whose experience met or exceeded expectations.
  2. Based on unconditional firm UCAS applicants; information one year in arrears.
  3. UK and EU undergraduates in work or further study six months after completing their course; these indicators are one year in arrears, as 2014–15 data are not available until December 2015.

The financial indicators are focused around measures of “financial sustainability”. In King’s case, 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. Please visit our Sustainability pages for more information.

League tables

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) University ranking of
the top 800 global higher education institution
19th Worldwide
5th in the UK
Shanghai world league table 55th worldwide
7th in the UK
Times Higher world league table 27th worldwide
7th in the UK


Each year the UK higher education funding bodies allocate about £1 billion of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research as identified in periodic independent reviews. At Kings’ the most recent was the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

The results of the 2014 REF were announced in December 2014 and confirmed King’s as a world-leading research university with the second-highest increase in research funding across the Russell Group universities.

In terms of comparison across the sector, King’s had some outstanding successes, notably:

  • Law is 1st in the country for quality of research and 7th for power (up from 19th and 14th respectively); ‘power’ takes into account both the quality and the quantity of research activity
  • Communication, Cultural and Media Studies and Digital Humanities came 1st for power and 8th for quality; it scored 100% at 4* or ‘world-leading’ ranking for research environment
  • Politics and International Studies was rated 1st for power
  • Education achieved 2nd for quality and 4th for power
  • Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience came 2nd for power and achieved 100% at 4* for research environment
  • Philosophy is 3rd for quality and 3rd for power
  • Clinical Medicine ranks 3rd for quality
  • History is 5th for quality and 7th for power
  • General Engineering (Imaging Sciences) is 5th for quality and submitted twice the number of staff it had in 2008.


Where our income comes from


Less than half of our income comes from Government sources. 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.

Government policy also 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 also partly regulates the number of undergraduate students we can recruit by setting limits on medical and dental student numbers. 

How King's spent its money



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.

Here are some Russell Group comparatives for the year 2013-14 (2014-15 are not yet fully available):

How are my fees set?

The UK Government sets fees for undergraduate students from the UK and the European Union. For King’s this is £9,000 per annum. Fees for nursing students are also determined by the Government.

Unregulated (that is, everything else) tuition fees are set by King’s and rise annually to take into account changes to the funding environment, changes to the form and content of the programme and inflation - pay inflation is the most relevant. This means that the fee you pay in your second and subsequent years is usually more than the fee paid in the first year.

In November 2013 we committed to restrict increases in fees for returning students to no more than inflation wherever possible, even in cases where we envisage fee rises for the same programme in subsequent years.

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.

Fees contribute about 35% of our income and about 35% of our expenditure in 2014-15 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 much of my fees are paying for Bush House and why do we need it?

The Bush House buildings sit in the heart of our existing Strand Campus. They give us the space we need to grow our portfolio of outstanding education and research, providing all our Strand-based students access to a modern and purpose-designed environment, reflective of a world-class university.

The quality and prestige of the new space will help King’s become a more attractive venue to those in London and therefore more open to the outside world – the business community in particular.

Drawing in even greater numbers of the best students and partners from across the world will deliver a change in the scale, breadth and quality of King’s education and research; one that is financially viable for the whole organisation and also provide excellent facilities for students.

Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions Privacy policy Accessibility Recruitment News Centre Contact us

© 2017 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454