Colleges have released predictions of financial losses resulting from rent and conference incomeLouis Ashworth

A joint statement from Cambridge’s 31 colleges has been issued which describes predicted losses for colleges from now until the start of Michaelmas term as a result of closures due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The statement, which is a response to enquiries submitted by Varsity, describes the “immediate loss in income of about £35 million” in rent across all Colleges. This is a result of colleges not charging rent to students who are not in residence during Easter Term.

Colleges also “expect to lose a total of £25 million from conferences and dining” during Easter term and the summer vacation.

The statement begins by describing that “colleges at the University of Cambridge are making every effort we can to support our staff, while maintaining the best experience possible for our students against a backdrop of significant and immediate losses to the income which sustains our community”.

In response to Varsity’s questions about whether college staff had been furloughed, the joint college statement explains that colleges are participating in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Upon this, colleges “have committed to pay 100 per cent of staff salaries to those who go on leave for the time being”. 

Like other employers, colleges “are then eligible to apply to recoup up to 80 per cent of salary costs through CJRS”. Colleges will cover the remaining 20 per cent themselves. 

The joint statement adds that “colleges have made provisions for employees who cannot work – either because of their personal circumstances or because there is no work for them to do – to stay at home and receive full pay”.   

“To date, no employee has been required to take a pay reduction”.


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The figures released today do not account for several other income sources. Whilst some colleges have paid the costs of May Ball losses to ensure that ticket holders could receive full refunds, the cancellation of weddings and other private functions during the summer, as well as reduced visitor numbers, are likely to further impact college incomes.

Data released to Varsity in a separate response shows that Gonville and Caius College alone anticipates a loss of £1.1 million in income from rent during the Easter term. The college also calculates a loss of £566,000 from conference income, a figure which includes  £246,000 from revenue generated through hosting summer schools at the College.

Despite financial losses, the joint statement confirms that colleges have “committed" to continuing payments for Cambridge Bursary Scheme bursaries, other College-based tuition and maintenance bursaries, and rent bursaries for those who have remained in residence.

The release of these figures follows concerns that the Higher Education sector will face huge financial losses as a result of coronavirus, including predictions of huge losses in tuition fees in the next academic year.