The financial statements of the 36 colleges of Oxford University for the year ended 31 July 2020 are available as pdfs, together with an aggregated statement of financial activities (SOFA) and an aggregated consolidated balance sheet.
The colleges are independent, self-governing and financially autonomous and their accounts are published under the accounting convention developed by the Charity Commission for use by charities in the UK (the Charity SORP).
Kellogg College, Reuben College and St Cross College do not have Royal Charters and, for accounting purposes, are departments of the University. As such, their financial results are consolidated into the University's financial statements.
Incoming resources for the colleges amounted in aggregate to £480m, a fall of 7.0% on the previous year. Resources expended fell by 12.2% to £450m.
The colleges, through the tutorial system, undertake a substantial proportion of Oxford's undergraduate teaching, as well as supporting graduate studies and research. The colleges also provide accommodation for around three-quarters of Oxford's 22,500 full-time students, and catering services for all of them.
Teaching, research and residential income, which accounted for 38.2% of aggregate income in 2019/20, fell by 13.7% to £183m. Teaching, research and residential expenditure continued to exceed income. The direct income covered 51% of the costs, emphasising the importance of other college income streams, in particular donations, legacies and investment income, to subsidise these core charitable aims.
Donations and legacies, towards both annual expenditure and endowment (£107m), together with investment income (£147m) accounted for 53% of aggregate incoming resources.
Net income from trading, representing the colleges' commercial activity with third parties, was £22m, down from £33m in the previous year.
Net incoming resources before gains and losses on investments totalled £29.6m against £3.9m in 2018/19. This increase should be seen in the context of two key features of the year, the impact of successive USS valuations as at March 2017 and March 2018, and the impact of the pandemic:
- USS: As a result of the differing valuations of the USS deficit, the current year benefitted from a £11m credit whereas the previous year suffered a £45m increase in the provision. Absent the impact of these, the underlying result in 2019/20 is a reduction of £9m. Moreover, the expectation is that the March 2020 valuation, currently in progress, will see a significant increase in the deficit and hence a further charge.
- Pandemic: The aggregate impact of the pandemic on all colleges is not easy to determine but it is clear that it has played a significant part in the reduction in income from student accommodation, conferences, trading, and possibly donations. While furlough income and costs savings have mitigated this, some of the savings, notably reduced maintenance spend, may be a question of timing only, and in any event losses have continued into the new financial year, potentially on a greater scale.
Weaker investment performance produced net losses of £40m compared with net gains of £260m in 2018/19 and hence led to the value of college endowments shrinking by 1.3% to £5.06bn during the year.