The education system in Austria is regulated by the federal government and compulsory schools are regulated by the boards of education. The federal ministry of education, science and research assumes important tasks such as training teachers and maintaining schools as well as directing the university and higher education system. With the passing of the Education Reform Act (Bildungsreformgesetz) in 2017, the school system governance in Austria was redefined. The extended autonomy of all schools as well as the introduction of educational regions promote a stronger adaptation of education to regional needs. The merging of the administration of federal and provincial teachers, the new regional structure of school supervision, the introduction of educational monitoring and external school evaluation enable uniform goals and control.
According to the joint data collection of UNESCO-OECD-EUROSTAT (UOE), public expenditure on education in Austria amounts to EUR 18,908.6 million in 2019. In addition, there is EUR 1,731.6 million from private sources. Across all ISCED fields, this results in a distribution of 91.6% public funding and 8.4% private funding.
- EUR 1,849.7 million is spent on early childhood education (ISCED 0), with public funding accounting for 91.9% (EUR 1,699.6 million) and private funding for 8.1% (EUR 150.1 million).
- In the primary sector (ISCED 1), total expenditure on education amounts to EUR 3,574.0 million. In this area, EUR 3,409.1 million (95.4%) comes from public sources and EUR 164.9 million (4.6%) from private sources.
- In the secondary and non-tertiary post-secondary sector (ISCED 2-4), total expenditure in 2019 amounts to EUR 8,452.2 million. 90.0% or EUR 7,603.2 million comes from public sources and 10.0% or EUR 849.0 million from private sources.
- The total expenditure in the tertiary sector (ISCED 5-8) amounts to EUR 6,764.3 million. The share of public funding in this education sector is 91.6% (EUR 6.196.7 million), and 8.4% or EUR 567.6 million comes from private sources.
|Educational level||Public expenditure, € in millions||Private expenditure, € in millions||Public expenditure, share||Private expenditure, share|
|ISCED 0: Early childhood education||1,699.6||150,1||91,9%||8.1%|
ISCED 1: Primary education, Grade 1 - 4
ISCED 2: Lower secondary education, Grade 5 - 8
ISCED 3: Upper secondary education, Grade 9 and higher
ISCED 4: Post-secondary non-tertiary education
ISCED 5: Short-cycle tertiary education (non-university tertiary sector)
ISCED 6-8: Tertiary education
Source: Eurostat (2022) (Total educational expenditure by education level, programme orientation and type of source [EDUC_UOE_FINE01]; last accessed 17/10/2022).
In 2019, public spending on education amounted to EUR 20,772.3 million (Statistics Austria 2022 (1)). This is distributed as follows among the three central bodies (federal government, provinces and municipalities):
- The federal government (including other public bodies) spent 52.5% (EUR 10,872.7 million).
- The share of expenditure of the provinces including the federal capital Vienna (2) amounted to around 34.6% (EUR 7,168.6 million)
- and that of the municipalities and regional boards of education (3) to around 12.9% (EUR 2,681,1 million) of public education expenditure.
However, the distribution of final expenditure on education between local authorities differs from the raising of funds. Financial transfers between local authorities therefore play an important role in the education sector. In the compulsory school sector (ISCED 1 and 2), for example, most of the expenditure is financed by the federal government and transferred to the provinces, which, as the responsible body, spend these funds on schools. In the elementary sector, on the other hand, the provinces provide the majority of funding, some of which is passed on to the municipalities in the form of transfers.
(2) Vienna’s expenditure is determined separately each year by the national statistical authority (Statistics Austria). This is a result of Vienna’s special status as both a province (NUTS 1) and a municipality (NUTS 2).
(3) With regard to the funding of education, regional boards of education only play a role in some provinces. The majority of the expenditure is accounted for by associations of compulsory secondary schools (ISCED 2).