After experiencing the first ever deficit position last year, the University has now returned to surplus in the current year. Last year's deficit was primarily a result of a voluntary redundancy scheme to restructure academic provision to meet the needs of rebalancing Schools' resources, in the light of changing patterns of student recruitment. The benefits of this restructuring have contributed to the surplus position in the current year. This surplus represents a slight improvement on that forecast mainly due to increased income from special initiatives and additional funding received from the NHS for extra nursing and midwifery students. A number of other actions have been implemented to achieve efficiencies in central service costs whilst still allowing investment in priority areas as identified in the University's Strategic Plan.
The University's cash position remains strong and interest on cash balances, although reducing due to low interest rates, still makes a significant contribution to total income.
In a more competitive recruitment environment the University has made recruitment and retention one of its corporate priorities and a number of inter-related projects have been set-up to address these areas of challenge for the University.
The second phase of construction at the Wolverhampton Science Park was completed in October 2000, at a cost of £2.8 million partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The first phase of the Estates Masterplan is now well underway. The new MC Building on City Campus, estimated to cost £21.1 million, partially funded by HEFCE Poor Estates Funding, is progressing well and is scheduled for completion by June 2002. There are two other projects in phase one of the Estates Masterplan. The Wet Labs Project, which provides for the refurbishment of laboratories and administration areas plus a new IT facility on City Campus, is estimated to cost £1.6 million and is partially funded from HEFCE Restructuring and Collaboration Funds. The third project is an extension of the existing Learning Resource Centre on City Campus to accommodate an increased number of students transferring from Dudley Campus on its closure in June 2002. The work is due to commence on construction in October 2001 and projected completion date is June 2002 at a cost of £4.75 million. Future phases of the Estates Masterplan are still to be approved by Governors and are planned to include a major investment in the University's Walsall Campus plus further developments at City and Telford Campuses.
The University continues to maintain a stable financial position in line with its Strategic Plan. The aim of which is to sustain a position of modest surpluses whilst recognising the significant impact the Estates Masterplan will have on existing resources.