The British university is expected to make £85m less than originally forecast as a result of spending growing faster than income.
In its 2022/23 annual report, Coventry said staff costs have risen 3% year-on-year, partly due to “inflationary pressures”.
Full-time UK and EU student fee income fell by 20% to £125.1 million in 2022/23, compared to £156.6m the previous year.
In contrast, full-time international student fee income rose by 31.9% to £232.8m (vs £176.5m in 2021/22).
Operating costs have also increased by 28% to £45.9 million, with a significant jump in the commission paid to education agents. This rose from £38.7m to £54.9m (an increase of £16.2m), which the university says reflects rising international student numbers.
Despite the increase, bosses said student recruitment in general had been “challenging” in autumn 2023.
Widespread international enrollment declines have been predicted across British universities for January 2024 as a result of myriad factors including visa policy changes, currency fluctuations and global competition.
University leaders across the UK have consistently warned that British institutions are over-reliant on overseas students as a freeze on domestic tuition fees continues.
“These funding issues are affecting most universities”
A spokesperson from Coventry University said, “Our international recruitment has been steadily increasing and we will continue to strengthen this diversity and ensure we are not reliant on a few key markets.
“Several factors, including significant ones beyond our control, mean we now forecast a larger deficit in this current financial year,” the spokesperson said.
“These funding issues are affecting most universities in England.
“We are a successful and financially strong institution, but we need to take action to ensure we remain sustainable and can thrive in the future,” they added.
Coventry said around £40m of savings would be required next year. Cost-cutting measures remain “under discussion” but may include targeted redundancies and recruitment freezes.
Sheffield Hallam University has also offered voluntary redundancy to all of its academic staff to combat financial issues caused by rising costs and flat tuition fees.
Speaking to the BBC, labour MP and shadow higher education minister Matt Western said he was “shocked” but “not surprised”.
“There are some really strong headwinds facing the sector. Coventry is big news, but they will not be alone.”