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Academic and Financial Planning and Analysis


Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) for Teaching


The Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) was introduced in 1999 across the Sector as a method of identifying the costs at institutional level of Teaching (public and non-publicly funded), Research (public and non-publicly funded) and Other activity. This costing methodology is applied to the process of the production of the University’s fEC rates, and forms the basis of the cost data applied in TRAC for Teaching.

TRAC Teaching has been introduced across the sector to develop and implement a national framework for the costing of teaching based on the principles of the TRAC methodology.

The purpose of TRAC Teaching is to identify teaching costs by subject for HEFCE fundable students. Student numbers by subject are then applied to enable a calculation of cost per FTE – to produce the Subject related Full Average Costs of Teaching a Student (Subject-FACTS).

Approach and Objectives

The data produced at HESA Subject Level (34 academic cost centres with some sub-divisions increasing the number to 41) will inform the review of public funding teaching methodology.

The primary objectives for the University are as follows:

  • To implement TRAC Teaching in compliance with the requirements as set out in the Transparent Approach to Costing Guidance
  • To produce the University’s annual TRAC Teaching submission.
  •  To develop and refine processes to improve the quality of the data produced.
  • To identify ways in which the exercise might be of use to the University in the broader understanding of its costs.

Data produced are reviewed annually by the University’s Planning and Resources Committee and also reviewed with the Secretaries of Schools and School Finance Managers in order to develop  the quality of the submission. This review includes:

  • A review of cost attribution methods (including the mapping of Departments to HESA Cost Centres and ensuring cost drivers are robust - in particular space, time allocation, and student numbers).
  • Reasonableness testing.
  • Developing understanding of internal cost relatives.

Data have not been disseminated below this level at this time.