Private higher education institutions
Austria has two private university colleges and 17 private universities
As of the winter semester 2023/24, there will be 19 private higher education institutions in Austria, including two private university colleges and 17 private universities. They vary greatly in their focus, ranging from social sciences and economics to law, and from medicine and theology to art and music. No federal funding is provided for private higher education institutions, which is why they are privately financed.
Private higher education institutions: an important third pillar of the higher education system
Private private higher education institutions have established themselves as the third pillar in the Austrian higher education system and are growing dynamically. In 1999, shortly before the millennium, the necessary legal basis for this was established, which has been replaced by a new one in 2021, the Private Higher Education Act (PrivHG). This act added private university colleges to the private higher education sector, which previously consisted only of private universities.
The number of private higher education institutions and their student numbers have grown continuously ever since. Their degree courses are based on conventional programmes in terms of content and structure, while also offering new content and innovative teaching formats.
Requirements for accreditation
In order to achieve the necessary accreditation as a private university, the Private Universities Act (PUG) requires these to be private educational institutions which are legal entities registered in Austria. No financial support may be extended by the Federal Government to private universities. However, they may take part in competitive research programmes and thus apply for publicly advertised research funding.
Here is an overview the two private university colleges and 17 private universities in Austria.