Financial scenario modelling: a guide for universities

Paul Cropper, Chris Cowton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Universities face an uncertain funding environment and turbulent marketplace. Financial scenario modelling offers a potential mechanism to assist in navigating a way forward. Our previous paper on UK universities’ practice found some variation in the sophistication of the approaches taken, but the overall impression was of a relatively simple approach, with spreadsheets generally viewed as having sufficient functionality to meet current strategic needs. This subsequent paper offers guidance on the construction of financial scenario models. It addresses the key variables that universities may wish to include, and it offers advice on how models might be formulated and evolve. The characteristics of differing approaches taken by universities in meeting their own scenario modelling requirements are explored by identifying three forms of model: basic, intermediate and advanced. The contribution of this paper is to enable universities, in the UK and beyond, to evaluate and improve their own financial scenario modelling practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-91
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Issue number1
Early online date10 Sep 2023
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2024

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