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Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC)

The Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC), introduced in 2000, is the standard methodology used by higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK for costing their activities. It was established as an approach to identifying the Full Economic Costing (FEC) of all activities to improve the accountability for the use of public funds and inform institutional decision making.


Full economic costs include direct costs plus a share of support costs, together with two sustainability adjustments to reflect the replacement cost of the institution's infrastructure and the return required for financing and investment.

TRAC analyses the activities of an institution across the headings of Teaching (T), Research (R) and
Other (O). Teaching is further sub-divided into publicly funded (PFT) which is from any public funding source (including RUK fees paid by the Student Loans Company) and non- publicly funded (NPFT) which includes overseas and self-funded students.

Go to the Office for Students website for further information on TRAC.

Governance of TRAC

TRAC is governed through two tiers that cover high level areas of policy and its broader development.

Financial Sustainability Strategy Group (FSSG)

The FSSG is a high level forum established to consider the strategic, policy, cultural and technical issues around the use and development of TRAC.

Go to the Office for Students website for further information on the FSSG.

TRAC Development Group (TDG)

The group considers developmental issues and supports the use of TRAC in understanding and managing financial sustainability.

Go to the Office for Students website for further information on the TDG.

TRAC Guidance

Go to the Office for Students website for detailed guidance on TRAC.

TRAC Support Unit

The TRAC Support Unit provides a range of support services.

Annual TRAC data

TRAC data is collected annually from HEIs.


Call for information SFC/CI/09/2017.


Transparent Approach to Costing 2015-16 [PDF].

Call for Information SFC/CI/06/2016.


Transparent Approach to Costing 2014-15 [PDF].

Call for Information SFC/CI/10/2015.