The aims of this report are to identify the main issues in conducting an analysis of costs in higher education in the context of England, critically to evaluate the received literature in this area, and to update these studies by conducting new analytical work on data for the higher education institutions of England.

By identifying the cost function it is possible to ascertain the relative efficiencies of institutions and forecast the costs of different potential expansion paths, which is what this report sets out to achieve.

The report provides an overview of the relevant conceptual and methodological issues, followed by a critical review of the literature on costs in higher education. Building on this review, data from English institutions in the early years of the 21st century are collected. These are then used to evaluate cost structures.


  • Introduction
  • Methodological Approach and Theoretical Considerations
  • The Received Literature on Costs in UK Higher Education
  • Data
  • Statistical Analysis
  • An Analysis of Efficiency and Productivity of UK HEIs using Data Envelopment Analysis
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendices