Rural College finances in good shape

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has claimed that the early introduction of Covid mitigation plans put the institution on the front foot to deal with any financial impact during the first year of the pandemic.

And the organisation’s annual accounts for 2020/21, published this week, showed that despite income from both student accommodation and research falling back as a result of the pandemic, the organisation recorded an underlying operating surplus of over £900,000.

SRUC principal, Professor Wayne Powell, said that a focus on the health and wellbeing of students during the pandemic had been a priority, with the college’s ‘bed and breakfast’ style of accommodation allowing students to book short stays on campus rather than being tied to full-term contracts when much of their learning was being done online.

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“Understandably, this led to a decrease in revenue. “There was also lower research income due to challenging conditions for projects during lockdown.”

However, he revealed that a 10.5 per cent increase in student applications and reduced operating costs due to fewer people being on campus were among the factors which helped to offset these losses.

The report also showed that SAC Commercial (SRUC’s commercial arm) continued to achieve profitable trading in a difficult market sector.

Although the operating profit of £1.2m was around £700,000 down on the previous year, savings and the work of the Veterinary Services lab at the Pentland Science Park helped to mitigate losses.

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