TRAC is an 'activity-based costing' (ABC) system tailored to the complex activities and culture of the higher education institutions (HEIs) in UK. It allows all the costs of the institution to be analysed and allocated to its primary activities such as Teaching, Research, and Others using appropriate cost drivers like staff FTE, time allocation schedule, space usages, etc. The process shows in the end how much each activity costs to the university and whether sufficient income is derived to cover the activity.
All the HEIs in UK are required by the government to implement TRAC. The government uses the high-level information derived from TRAC to inform its funding decisions.
All the public funders of higher education are under pressure to demonstrate accountability and value for money. The funding councils, research councils, the Training and Development agency for Schools, and Department of Health all use TRAC to inform their policy and funding requirements. It helps them to make the case to the government for the funding they manage, and more generally the existence of a consistent national costing system gives them reassurance about the good management of funds in higher education which is essential to their role in the continuance of such funding.
The university in particular and the sector in general has enjoyed the substantial benefits of TRAC through additional money received from and earmarked by the government for Research.
TRAC has developed four applications namely: