Older colleges show cash stability

May 5, 1995

Institutional short-term liquidity remained stable in the old university sector in the financial year 1993/94. And the the two institutions that were previously showing negative net liquid asset to expenditure ratios moved to the positive side of the line.

The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals' annual report University Management Statistics and Performance Indicators in the UK measures this ratio by the number of days an institution could meet expenditure from its current net liquid assets.

In 1992/93 Wye College, London's figure was -11 days while Heriot-Watt's was -5.

But in 1993/94 Wye had sufficient liquid assets to meet 7 days expenditure, while Heriot-Watt could manage 18.

Across the system as a whole the average remained unchanged at 72 days, with national scores of 71 days for England, 86 for Wales, 61 for Scotland and 96 for Northern Ireland. While the lowest of the four national averages, the Scottish figure is a marked improvement on 54 days in 1992/93 and 26 in 1991/92.

Lowest institutional figures were Lancaster (six days) and Exeter (10) - in both cases up from two days in 1992/93. At the other end of the scale, 17 institutions had sufficient assets to meet more than 100 days of expenditure, with the Welsh Registry (289) and the London School of Economics (220) topping 200.

The report shows that institutions are devoting an average of 5.4 per cent of their total expenditure to central administration, with smaller, London-based institutions at the top of the list.

London Business School spent 9.5 per cent this way, followed by Royal Holloway and Beford with 9.0 per cent and the London School of Economics with 8.8 per cent. Lowest spenders were Cambridge, 2.8 per cent, and Manchester, 3.9 per cent.

Research-oriented institutions were top of the library spenders. Oxford puts 9.8 per cent of expenditure into libraries - against a system-wide average of 4.4 per cent - followed by the London School of Economics, 8.3 per cent, and Cambridge, 6.9 per cent.

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