Why should I study in Austria?

The country of beautiful mountains, classical music and historical landmarks...

How to Study in Austria

In the middle of Europe Austria shares borders with no less than eight countries: the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Germany. Also being called the 'Alpine Republic', roughly 60 percent of its landmass is either mountainous or part of the Alps.

The Austrian Higher Education System

Austria has 74 higher education institutions. There are three types of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Austria. First, there are 35 public and private Universities. Second, 21 Fachhochschulen, universities of applied sciences, provide an education which focuses more on practical knowledge and training than universities do. Third, there are 14 Pädagogische Hochschulen, providing the country’s teacher training. In line with the Bologna process, the degree-structure is three-tiered: bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. In 2020 total enrolment was 265,000 students. Austria is popular as a destination country, international students count for 29 % of all students. Almost 29 % of international students are coming from Germany. Other major countries of origin of international students in Austria are Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, Hungary, and Serbia. The academic year in Austria, as a rule, begins on October 1st and ends on September 30thof the following year. It consists of two semesters: Winter semester (October 1st to January 30th), Summer semester (March 1st to September 30th) There are also periods during in which no lectures are held (Christmas, semester and summer breaks).

Austria’s Higher Education System in International Comparison

In this section, we highlight the overall performance of Austrian universities on the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. The below table shows the national breakdown of Austrian universities and how they stand across the spectrum of above average (receiving a score of ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good)), or below average (receiving a score of ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak)). In doing so, U-Multirank offers a clear picture of the country’s strengths and areas for improvement. It becomes apparent that the vast majority of Austria’s HEIs perform particularly well in view of international orientation as well as regional engagement.

National performance: Austria

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 23% 57% Research 36% 49% Knowledge Transfer 54% 35% International Orientation 10% 83% Regional Engagement 25% 49%

How much does it cost to study in Austria?

Studying at Austrian universities is free for EU students who have not exceeded the minimum duration of their study programme plus two semesters. For all other students from third countries, 726.72 € per semester is required. The Universities of Applied Sciences are entitled to charge tuition fees for all students which vary between institutions. A student union membership fee and the student accident insurance fee is 20.20 euros per semester and is compulsory for all students.

Addition of information on fees and financial support

Source: Eurydice 
Reference year(s): 2020/2021

Fees

In this section we highlight the fees for studying in Austria. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.

  • First- and second-cycle: EU students and those who are accorded the same rights do not have to pay tuition fees at universities and Pädagogische Hochschulen (University Colleges of Teacher Education). There are also no administrative fees. Where students exceed the maximum study duration by more than a year, they have to pay EUR 363.36 per semester (EUR 726.72 per year). This is the maximum amount set by the government. Exemption from fees may be given in cases such as studies or internships within transnational mobility programmes, and for illness, pregnancy, or disability.
  • Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) are entitled to charge fees up to the maximum amount of EUR 363.36 per semester.
  • There are no short-cycle higher education
  • International students (defined as non-EU and non-EEA students) at universities generally have to pay fees of EUR 726.72 per semester (EUR 1,453.44 per year). Students from the least developed countries are exempt from fees. Fachhochschulen are entitled to charge cost-covering fees, which are usually higher than EUR 363.36 per semester for non-EU and non-EEA students.

Source: Eurydice - National Student Fees and Support Systems in European Higher Education – 2020/21.

Financial Support

In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in Austria. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances.  How these terms are defined, are outlined below:

  • Grants are provided in the national currency and are differentiated between merit-based and need-based (or universal, where applicable). All main public financial support that does not need to be paid back is included, with the exception of grants for study abroad (i.e. mobility grants). Information is also presented on the proportion of students (in the short, first and second cycle) who receive grants.
  • Loans: information focuses on the existence of a student publicly-subsidised loan system and the percentage of students that take out a loan. Information on the interest rate and modalities for the repayment of loans may also be provided.
  • Tax benefit is any tax relief that is granted to parents whose child is a higher education student or to students themselves. The information aims to cover the amount of the tax relief, how it can be claimed and who is eligible to apply.
  • Family allowances for students' parents: this part provides information on their amount and the eligible population.
  • The most important direct student support is the study grant, which is paid in monthly instalments of up to EUR 10,092 per year on the basis of social criteria and of good academic performance (eligible students must be under 30 or 35, depending on their study cycle and situation). The amount is assessed on the basis of the income of the parents, the student and his/her spouse, and the number of family members. Students may be required to pay back grants only where there is no proof of academic achievement after the first two semesters. Merit-based grants awarded on the basis of academic performance are also available. In 2018/19, 16% of first- and second-cycle students received a study grant and 5% a merit-based grant.
  • In order to help students complete the academic year 2019/20, the summer semester 2020 is assessed as a so-called ‘neutrales Semester’ for the purpose of need-based grants. This means that the deadlines for presenting the proof of academic achievement required for need-based grant beneficiaries do not apply for this semester. Thus, grant beneficiaries will not suffer any disadvantage arising from Covid-19 crisis related issues.
  • Students' parents can receive family allowances (EUR 10 per month per child) and tax benefits (EUR 58.40 per month per child) if the student is under 24 (in exceptional cases up to 25 years of age) and is studying. Tax benefits are also available for students with income.
  • No national student loan system is in place.

What are the entry requirements for Austrian Universities?

To be admitted to a higher education programme, applicants have to contact the institution that offers the programme. They can inform about admission requirements apply to the programme of choice. Typically are the following requirements for bachelor programmes: * A secondary school leaving certificate that entitles you to admission to university studies in your home country * German language proficiency (secondary school leaving certificate confirming German lessons of at least 4 years or a German language diploma or similar documents) * In addition, students from Non-EU countries have to prove that they would be entitled to admission to the chosen degree programme in the country which issued your secondary education diploma. For master programmes, general entrance requirement is a successful completion of at least a 6 semester specialized relevant Bachelor’s degree (min 180 ECTS). For more information click here.

Do I need a Student Visa for Austria?

International students from EU/EEA countres need neither a visa nor a residence title. They, however, have to register with the authority in charge of residence within three months after entering Austria. Nationals of other countries need a travel visa C, for stays for a maximum of 90 days, or a residence visa D, for stays of at least 91 days up to a maximum of 6 months, and a Residence Permit for Students for stays of longer than six months. For more information click here.

How to get a Scholarship in Austria?

No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Austria. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.

 

Top Three Student Cities in Austria

 

How do Austrian Universities fare in U-Multirank?

  1. 26 Higher education institutions from Austria are included in the 2021 edition of U-Multirank, 16 universities and 10 universities of applied sciences.
  2. In U-Multirank, Austria’s higher education institutions perform strongest in the International Orientation dimension with 84% of all indicator scores better than average (groups ‘A’ or ‘B’). In the Research dimension 58% of all indicator scores are above average.
  3. Three Austrian institutions are part of the ‘Top 25 Performers’ in the 2021 edition of U-Multirank. Montanuniversität Leoben and Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences are among the global top 25 in co-publications with industrial partners, while University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol is listed for student mobility.
  4. The Austrian universities with the highest number of top group positions (‘A’ scores) are Graz University of Technology (14 top scores), Johannes Kepler University Linz (14) and Management Center Innsbruck (14).
  5. Management Center Innsbruck is listed among the global Top 25 in our new Collaboration Index.

 

Austria's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

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Student report: Austria

Video: Study in Austria

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