Universities are in the middle bracket of the public domain in terms of the average overhead percentage. This is evident from the study ‘Benchmarkonderzoek overhead universiteiten’ (University overhead benchmark study) , published by Berenschot at the end of 2011.

Universities make a distinction between academic staff and support and management staff, whereby the latter category is often referred to as ‘the overhead’. Support and management staff includes, for example, the financial and legal roles and security. Since 2000, the academic staff and support staff ratio has shifted from 1:1 to 3:2.

As part of the performance agreements all the universities have formulated ambitions – and laid them down in a target – in order to find the best possible balance between overhead and the primary process. The achieved overhead and the ambitions can be found in the VSNU sector report and performance agreement. According to the annual reports for 2014, the universities have an average overhead percentage of approximately 18%; Berenschot arrived at an average overhead percentage of 19.9% in 2011.