A study by the Guardian has revealed that Oxbridge colleges combined with the Universities as a whole, have assets worth £21bn.
Significant disparities were revealed between colleges; Trinity is Cambridge’s richest college, with assets worth £1.4bn in estates, artworks, property, and investments. Clare Hall is the least wealthy college in this respect, with assets of £32.7m. The combined assets of the colleges reached £6.9m, significantly outstripping the £4.9m of the University itself.
The richest Oxford college was St John’s, with £600m in assets, and Oxford’s colleges had a combined total of £5.9bn. The combined £21bn of Oxbridge assets was greater than the other 22 members of the Russell Group combined.
Questions have also been raised about how colleges are investing these funds. The Queens’ College was the only college accredited by the Living Wage foundation, meaning that it is the only college confirmed to offer the living wage to all its staff. At Oxford, eight colleges are accredited by the Living Wage foundation.
Labour MP David Lammy, who has clashed with Oxford over Twitter concerning low rates of admissions of BME students, has criticised the allocation of these funds, stating that colleges should be spending more on outreach programmes. A document published on Cambridge’s website reveals that the University spent £4.4m on outreach in 2013-14, although this does not break down figures by college.