Universities doing better financially

07/03/2006 14:00

Dutch universities closed their books with a joint profit of 45 million euro in 2004. This is 29 million euro more than in 2003. After years of deterioration, the joint operating results have been improving since 2002. 

Operating results of universities

Operating results of universities, 1998–2004

Government contribution down, contract income up

The main source of income for universities is public funding. The share of public funding decreased gradually, from nearly 71 percent in 1998 to just under 67 percent in 2004.
Revenues from work carried out at the request of third parties have been accounting for more income. Their share in total income rose from 16 percent in 1998 to nearly 19 percent in 2004. Two-thirds of this work for third parties is contract research, which accounted for some 747 million euro in 2004. Fees account for a modest 6 percent of income. Total spending by all universities together on the profit and loss account amounted to 4.9 billion euro in 2004.

Revenues of universities by source of income, 2004

Revenues of universities by source of income, 2004

Smaller share of education spending on universities

In 2004 14 percent of public spending on educational institutions was earmarked for universities. In 1995 this share was still 17 percent. The share spent on universities has been decreasing annually since 1995. In higher professional education (vocational colleges) the share has dropped less sharply, from 9 percent (1995) to 8 percent (2004). On the other hand a relatively large share went to primary education: 39 percent in 2004, up from 34 percent in 1995.

Share of public spending by level of education, 2004

Share of public spending by level of education, 2004

Universities account for smaller share in total public spending

In real terms, total government spending on education and research at universities rose by 12 percent in the period 1998–2004. In the same period the number of students rose by more than 20 percent. In 2004 government spending on universities accounted for 2.7 percent of total government spending. In 1998 this was 2.8 percent.

Jan Ramaker