A vice-chancellor who stepped down as her university was struggling to tackle a huge financial deficit received a payout of £265,000 after she announced that she was leaving, accounts have shown.
The University of Gloucestershire's annual accounts for 2009-10 reveal that Patricia Broadfoot, who retired from the role on 31 July, was paid a total last year of almost £500,000, including benefits and pension contributions.
More than half of this was given to Professor Broadfoot - who handed over executive responsibilities to her deputy, Paul Hartley, on 25 March - "in lieu of notice" despite her only carrying out an "ambassadorial role" during her final four months at the institution.
A spokeswoman for the university said the payments were in accordance with Professor Broadfoot's "contractual rights" and the timing of her departure had been "mutually agreed".
The accounts also show the university was still in overall deficit by £1.2 million last year, despite achieving a £5.5 million surplus through its main operations.
Commentary in the accounts shows the shortfall is mainly due to a £6.2 million "impairment charge" after reassessing the potential market value of its Pittville campus, which the university is now mothballing in a relocation project that will cost it £5 million.
The other "exceptional item" that pushed the university into deficit was a total of £1.4 million in redundancy costs.
The institution's long-term debts have been reduced from £31.6 million to £26.8 million, representing a debt-to-income ratio of just under 40 per cent.
The spokeswoman said it expected its debts to "continue to erode" over the next two years.
The accounts also reveal that for more than two months last year the university had been relying on a £2.5 million overdraft facility and also received a grant advance from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Both have now been repaid.