The performance of Finnish universities is measured by, among other things, the number of degrees and publications produced. These numbers determine the amount of funding granted from the Government budget (i.e., core funding) to each university. To supplement its core funding, the University of Helsinki seeks external research funding from various sources. Read more about universities’ core funding on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture. As the University of Helsinki’s funding will be drastically reduced, the University has launched an extensive change programme to adjust its finances.

The University of Helsinki also finances its operations with income generated by its own assets. The major part of the University’s assets consists of real property for its own use. The University of Helsinki also invests in securities and owns companies.

In 2015 the University of Helsinki’s total income amounted to €750 million and its expenses to €704 million. The surplus of the University's operations was €21 million. An unprecedented €25 million was gained from dividends and sales of securities, which was reflected in the growth of the University's securities portfolio.

Despite the intense cost-cuts, estimates indicate that the University will show a deficit of €20-25 million in 2016. The University is prepared to use the surplus from previous years to cover its vital expenses and the investments required by the change programme. This surplus totals approximately €60 million.