Vice-Chancellor's update - 18 February 2021

Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Karen Cox

This week’s staff web chat focused on the financial impact of Covid-19 on the University as well as the ongoing work to deliver our Financial Improvement Programme.

As I have previously mentioned, we have made significant progress in addressing our underlying deficit. My thanks go to you all for the hard work that has been done in support of this.

As a result, we have now secured funding from our lenders through until 2024 which will provide greater stability into the future, enabling us to manage cash flow volatility and move to a sustainable financial position over this period. However, this is contingent on the continued delivery of our financial improvements and move away from a deficit operating position.

You will be aware that Covid-19 has had a considerable impact on our commercial income. Combined with Brexit and associated changes to the fee status of EU students, this creates uncertainty with regard to overall student recruitment as well. Despite improvements to our marketing activity, we are at risk of falling behind our revised targets, especially overseas and postgraduate taught. This means that, in the short term, we continue to face considerable financial risks.

While we have made allowances for Covid-related income loss in our financial forecasts, the situation remains highly volatile. If any income drop is greater than we have contingency planned for, we may have to make additional savings.

We will do everything we can to avoid further losses. Over the coming months, we will continue to monitor our income risks so that we can respond quickly if looks like we won’t be able to meet our financial forecasts. We will continue to keep you updated and in touch as the situation develops. We are committed to being as open and transparent as possible about our financial position.

Our priority is still to deliver our improvement plan, increase our income and provide the stability we need to deliver the best possible teaching, research & innovation and student experience and continue to deliver regional, national and international impact through our work.

I am convinced that, if we continue to work together to overcome the short-term challenges presented by Covid-19, we have a very promising future here at Kent.

Thank you again for your continued work to support this. If you were unable to attend the web chat, please do view the recording which is now available online,

With my very best wishes to you and your families,

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

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