“Unprecedented levels of construction cost inflation” will seize plans on a student residence scheme and Centre of Creativity at the university, according to the UCD governing authority.

According to UCD’s annual financial statements for 2022, the €29.5 million loss, labelled as an exceptional impairment charge, more than halved the university’s pretax surplus to €16.2 million, as reported by The Irish Times. This 53 per cent reduction occurred despite the university’s annual income increasing by 13 per cent.

UCD’s annual income rose from €80.7 million to €718.35 million in 2022. In a note accompanying the statements, directors at the university said that this increase “reflects the repopulation of our student beds following the return to on-campus teaching and the introduction of 924 new beds giving a total of 4,100 beds”.

The rise in income was driven by academic fees increasing from €260.56 million to €283.46 million as the total number of students increased. 2,465 additional students attended the university in 2022, bringing the total number of students to 33,178.

“Other income” also rose from €106.16 million to €138.16 million. This was driven primarily by rental income from on-campus student accommodation which almost tripled from €13.96 million to €40.27 million.

The note also said that 2021/22 was the university’s most successful ever year for securing external research funding, rising by €23.8 million to €155.7 million.

The accounts show that in May 2022, the authority “reluctantly” decided not to proceed with its residences phase two capital project after spending €11.5 million on design fees and enabling costs.

Then in March 2023, the authority decided not to advance the Centre for Creativity project due to inflation costs. It had already spent €18 million on design fees and enabling costs.

The accounts show that the design fee and enabling costs represented about 5 per cent of the expected capital costs. However, it is said that these design and enabling works will benefit future construction if economic circumstances change in the future.

Employees at UCD earning more than €100,000 last year increased from 543 to 590, including 15 people earning more than €200,000, according to the accounts.

The number of staff employed in UCD increased from 5,085 to 5,339 as staff costs went up from €356.39 million to €381.84 million.

Emma Hanrahan – Co-Editor