Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC)

TRAC means Transparent Approach to Costing. The Transparency Review (which is now known as TRAC) was initiated following the Government's 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review. The aim of TRAC is to provide information on the income and expenditure of universities and return this to the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) each year.

Since 2000, TRAC has been the standard methodology used by Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in the UK for costing their main activities (teaching, research and other core activities), and it is increasingly informing the public funding of higher education. Since the 2004/2005 Transparency Review onwards, the analysis of income is a mandatory requirement.

TRAC has already introduced new processes and activities in institutions that sit alongside existing accounting and project management systems. The most notable so far, from an academic's perspective, are the requirements to allocate academic staff time via the Academic Activity Survey (AAS). This time allocation is essential for knowing where academic staff effort is being directed and to plan how the costs can be funded.

Transparent Approach to Costing for Teaching (TRAC(T)) is a HEFCE requirement that was introduced in 2005/06.

For information on Full Economic Costing, please see the FEC page.