Accessibility statement

Challenging financial times for the sector - York’s response

Posted on 19 May 2023

We know that our students are feeling the effects of inflation pushing up the cost of living. The University of York, as an organisation, is going through something very similar.

Rising cost of inflation

Along with all others in the sector, we are facing increased costs. Inflation has risen quickly and sharply at a rate not seen since the mid-1970s.  

Some of these inflationary pressures have been caused by Covid and then driven up further and kept high by external events including the war in Ukraine and the long-term impacts of government action.

Impact of inflation 

Inflation means all the things we buy to run the university - such as energy, teaching, office and lab supplies, catering, and maintenance - have gone up in cost. We need to look at containing and reducing our operational costs in order to manage the impact of inflation. 

We also need to consider our approach to generating income for the University. As you may be aware, universities cannot rely solely on income from student fees. As Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery has reiterated many times, the Higher Education funding system is broken and reform is needed. He is actively campaigning for this, including joining with Public First and Progressive Britain to carry out the biggest ever exercise in testing options for reforms to student finance and tuition fee policy with the public.

Protecting the student experience

We have always put the student experience at the centre of what we do. We have a strong reputation based on our excellence in teaching and research, as demonstrated by our National Student Survey (NSS), Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and Research Excellence Framework (REF) results. 

As we look to tackle these financial challenges, we have identified areas that must not be critically compromised, and our ability to provide an exceptional student experience is one of the most important things we must maintain. This includes:

  • teaching and learning
  • opportunities to take part in non-academic activities
  • support with careers
  • access to sports
  • student disability support
  • support for wellbeing, including mental health

Above all, as a university for public good, we look to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, and be an university that opens up opportunity for all. 

We appreciate places and spaces are important and investment in accommodation, teaching and learning and social space will continue. We have a lot of buildings and many are underutilised and some are now very old. We will look at how we can better use our campus. We’ll also be making these decisions with our commitment to environmental sustainability in mind, too. 

We are, of course, now also looking at our building programme in light of these cost pressures, including the different ways we can continue our plans.

Keeping you informed

We are working with our University community to consider what we can do to tackle the rise of inflation and the impact this has on our plans. Through student newsletters and continual liaising with YUSU and the GSA, we will ensure you are kept up-to-date with the information that’s important to you.