Durham’s advertising expenditure the lowest of 42 universities

By Blundell

Durham University has the lowest undergraduate marketing expenditure out of 42 UK universities.

Durham’s undergraduate advertising budget for 2017-18 was just £70,570 according to a Freedom of Information request by The Guardian.

The results of the request found that high expenditure correlated with lower or middle ranking institutions, whilst the lowest spending was at highly ranked institutions.

Durham’s undergraduate advertising budget for 2017-18 was just £70,570

Exeter University joined Durham in the lower bracket, spending £171,766 on advertising. Cambridge University does not have a marketing department, but spent £183,232 on open days, prospectuses and films.

Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) told Palatinate: “Marketing activities are delivered in different ways across the University and the amount stated relates to undergraduate marketing costs for the period in question.

“We continually review our marketing plans to ensure their effectiveness and we allocate our budgets accordingly.”

These figures are considerably lower than those at the top end of expenditure on advertising.

These figures are considerably lower than those at the top end of expenditure on advertising.

The University of Central Lancashire reported a marketing expenditure of £3.4 million for 2017-18, Middlesex University spent £2.6 million, whilst the University of West England has an annual marketing budget of £3 million.

The responses found that, at a number of universities, there are staff positions dedicated solely to marketing and advertising. Anglia Ruskin University employs 120 full-time members of staff in this department, whilst Warwick University, a member of the Russell group, employs 106 staff in their marketing department.

Of the 134 universities contacted through the Freedom of Information request, many declined to divulge the relevant information due to commercial sensitivity.

This increase in advertising has led to a backlash from organisations which are concerned with the priorities of universities in the current climate of financial uncertainty.

The University and College Union commented that: “Institutions appear to favour style over substance. This is at odds with what students actually say they want.

“The spiralling growth in spending on marketing stands in direct contrast to the way the pay and conditions of those who deliver to students has been held down.”

The National Union of Students also stated: “Increased marketisation of education has created wasteful competition that benefits neither students nor the public.”

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