Edinburgh University Students’ Association is a surprisingly large and complex organisation. We are student-led and operate bars, cafes, shops, nightclubs, a gym and an external catering business. We provide impartial and confidential advice to students on anything from financial matters, relationships, or studies. We campaign to ensure that students get a better deal during their time at university, and support students from overseas. We help our student members to volunteer in the community or take part in activities they enjoy. Our total income is close to £12 million a year, we employ over 130 salaried staff and in 2015/16 we paid nearly £2 million in wages to hourly-paid staff, mainly students.
Our income can be split into two main groups: commercial and grant income. Commercial income from the Association’s bars, cafes, shops and Festival operations was £8.1m in 2015/16, and makes up the greatest share of our total income. Grant income (mainly from the University) at £2.9m is the next largest, and there are also various smaller sources such as rental income from the Teviot printer shop and Vitality optician/dentist in Potterrow.
However this only shows part of the picture. The commercial income represents gross takings at the Association’s outlets. If you factor in the direct costs of selling the products – buying in goods for resale or ingredients to make the food that we sell, plus the wage costs of the people staffing our outlets, a profit of about £0.9m was made.
So a more realistic way of looking at the income is to consider the ‘useable’ income. This is the surplus from our commercial activities plus the annual grant from the University and other sources. This adds up to just over £4m in 2015/16 as can be seen in the chart below.
That’s the way the money goes
We use our income to run our student support activities such as The Advice Place, the Peer Support programme or the Activities Office. We also use it to pay for the teams and activities that support the whole organisation, such as the Human Resources and Marketing teams, Estates (who maintain our buildings) or Front of House (who provide our door security).
You can see more detail of the things that we do to directly help our student members on our website.
We spend about half of our £4m ‘useable’ income on non-commercial staff costs. That leaves about £2m to spend on everything else: heat & light, repairs & maintenance, equipment hire, design and print costs, and much more. We are also rebuilding the Association’s reserves and any surplus made is held aside for that purpose.