This study investigates the determinants of audit fees for UK universities, involving an analysis of 451 university-year observations over the period 2007–2010. The study contributes to a fledgling strand of research examining audit pricing in the public sector. In seeking to identify an appropriate model to explain audit fees we interview a number of university auditors and use their insights in conjunction with prior findings from both private and public sector studies of audit pricing. Our findings show that audit fees in UK universities are positively influenced by size, the number of subsidiary companies, the amount of endowments, the level of debtors, being located in England and the use of a London-based auditor. We also find that more research-intensive universities (using a range of measures) and universities with greater operating surpluses pay lower audit fees.