Full Economic Costing was developed on the basis of Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC). TRAC is the standard method now used for costing in higher education in the UK. TRAC was developed out of work performed by the Joint Costing and Pricing Steering Group (JCPSG).

The first part of TRAC (annual TRAC) was accepted by the Government in 1999. Its extension to research projects (TRAC FEC) was introduced in 2004. It was then extended to Teaching (TRAC (T)) in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland in October 2006.

TRAC results are used by various parts of the Government to inform funding policy (on the funding of Teaching and Research). The JCPSG web page contains an overview of TRAC for senior managers and academics

TRAC returns
The main TRAC R return is an annual requirement, submitted at the end of January, and in addition there is now also a TRAC T return which has to be submitted at the end of February. The teaching return analyses the cost per student pa by HESA cost centre.