University Rich List 2020


Student loan debt ballooned to £140 billion at the end of March 2020. The government forecasts that this will reach £560 billion by the middle of this century. Combined with the fact that the government also predicts that only 25 per cent of current full-time undergraduate students who take out loans are expected to repay them is full, higher education is fast becoming a major financial issue. This means that taxpayers are ultimately funding a substantial portion of higher education revenue in the UK. A reduction in the tuition fee cap - as proposed by the Augar review - would further exacerbate this subsidy.

At the same time, the coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on student life. Some universities have moved to online courses, with the face-to-face contact hours and social life usually associated with university life reduced. Many students feel that they are getting less value for money as a result. 

Despite all this, university bosses are taking home substantial sums. This research presents total remuneration data for 2019-20 to highlight the spiralling increases in senior staff pay.

These findings are important, both to the students who attend these institutions and the taxpayers who are asked to subsidise them.

Click here to read the Rich List in full

Key findings

  • In 2019-20, there were at least 4,112 university staff with total remuneration of more than £100,000. Within this group, there were 860 on more than £150,000.

  • This compares to 3,615 and 762 respectively in 2018-19. This represents an increase of 14 per cent for those on more than £100,000 and 13 per cent for those on more than £150,000 in total remuneration

  • The university with the greatest number of employees whose remuneration was in excess of £100,000 was the London School of Economics, with 306. This was also the university which had the highest number of employees receiving over £150,000 at 109.

  • The average number of employees who received over £100,000 in total remuneration per university is 44. The average number receiving over £150,000 is 9 employees per university.

  • The Open University made loss of office payments totalling £347,696, the highest single pay out being £128,575.


You can use our tool below to search for a specific university and see the average number of staff who were remunerated over £100,000 across a in 2019-20:


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.  More info. Okay