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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Early childhood and school education funding


3.Funding in education

3.1Early childhood and school education funding

Last update: 27 November 2023


Since 2013, the funding system has differed significantly for kindergartens and schools. The majority of kindergartens are maintained by local councils, as the provision of kindergarten care is a mandatory municipal task, so their funding continues to be provided by local governments. The funding of schools, on the other hand, became a state responsibility from 1st January 2013.

Financing of kindergarten education


The funding system is two-tiered: most of the central budget support is allocated to the maintainers who determine the expenses of their kindergartens as part of their own budget. The budget required for the operation is provided jointly by the state and the maintainer. In some cases, this amount is supplemented by the fees paid for services used by children and the kindergartens' own revenues.

The amount of the normative contribution from the central budget is defined in the Act on the Annual National Budget. Maintainers are permitted to set the budget of their institutions.

There are two forms of state support for the operation of kindergartensnormative and targeted subsidies. All kindergarten maintainers are entitled to normative subsidies, but targeted subsidies must be applied for in competitive calls for applications. In 2013, an average salary-based subsidy replaced the previous, children-based state support. The state now provides a salary-based subsidy calculated on the basis of a complex formula taking the number of kindergarten teachers (teachers employed in the kindergarten) and assistant staff (directly assisting the teachers' educational work) into account.

The national budget earmarks a separate budget for the construction and expansion of kindergartens, which can be applied for.

Financing basic and upper secondary schools

After 2013, the financing system of public education fundamentally changed. The transfer of schools to the state affected both resources and their use. The most significant change is that the share of public funding has increased, and schools no longer have an independent budget.

In the new system - until the beginning of 2017 - the state covered the financing of the professional tasks (1) of the former municipal schools, typically including teachers’ salaries, as well as material expenditures used directly for education. Other operating expenses (2), such as utility bills, the provision of furniture, tools, equipment necessary for the performance of the basic task of public education, expenses related to the provision of students (meals, travel), and ownership-related expenses (3) related to the maintenance, renovation and expansion of buildings, were borne by municipalities. In the case of settlements with less than 3,000 inhabitants, the state also automatically assumed the operating costs, and in the case of larger settlements, upon request. The dual funding caused tensions in the day-to-day operation of public education institutions: there was a lot of controversy and operational difficulties as to whether the provision of a given task or tool is to be paid for by the state or the municipality, also, there were significant differences due to the different financial situations of local governments.

The provision of school meals remained a mandatory task of local governments after transforming the system in 2017.

The system introduced in 2013, marked a significant realignment in terms of direct funding for education: the share of municipal resources (although largely coming from state support provided on a normative basis) decreased from 95% to 23% at ISCED 1-2 level from 2012 to 2013. At ISCED level 3, i.e. at upper secondary level, it dropped from 76% to 11% - these resources are provided by the central budget.

The modification of the system in 2017 led to the current form of the system: the ’other operating costs’ (2) became an entirely state task, in parallel with the complete abolition of the maintainer rights of local governments, except for the kindergartens, as their maintenance remained the responsibility of the municipalities. At the same time, from 2017 onwards, the respective Act on the National Budget imposes a so-called solidarity tax on municipalities in a relatively better financial position. From 2017 onwards, municipalities only must finance the development and renovation costs arising from the ownership of school buildings (3).

Between 1st January 2013 and 31st December 2016, state subsidies were allocated to public education institutions - except for kindergartens - through KLIK, the central state maintainer.

As a result of the decentralisation measures introduced on 1st January 2017, KLIK was replaced by school district centres (a total of 60), which perform their task of maintainers as independent budgetary bodies.

As a result, the system  between 2013 and 2016 has changed significantly and financial conditions has also improved.

Funding of vocational training

An important change was introduced in 2015 in upper secondary VET (ISCED 3): the maintenance of schools offering vocational training programs was taken over by the Ministry of National Economy (NGM) responsible for vocational education and adult learning, and later, in 2018, by the newly-established Ministry of Innovation and Technology. Maintenance expenditures were shared between the maintenance organisations belonging to the ministries responsible for public education and VET. Individual decisions were made on the classification of schools offering multiple programs. Within the framework of vocational training, the Ministry for Human Capacities is responsible for full-time art training and the supervision of teaching professions in the field of healthcare and social care. Training belonging to the agricultural sector are supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture. Training programmes in the law enforcement and defence sectors are under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence.

The cooperation system of vocational training consists of the VET Innovation Council (SZIT), the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) and the Chamber of Commerce (Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry / MKIK).

Among the strategic interests conciliation actors, the SZIT (VET Innovation Council) is of outstanding importance, which is a national body that assists the Minister of Innovation and Technology in fulfilling his/her tasks related to vocational training and adult learning, prepares professional opinions and formulates recommendations. It was established to support the further development of the Hungarian vocational training system.

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) represent each economic sector and are involved in the development and modernisation of the content of vocational training, the harmonisation of labour market demand and the training system. The SSCs, which officially started operating in 2019, played a significant role in the development of the structure of occupations that meet new professional requirements. The task of the SSCs is to promote the harmonisation of the labour market demands and the training system, and to contribute to the improvement of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Adult Learning (AL) and to the process of its necessary restructuring by issuing opinions and making recommendations.

The MKIK (Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) continues to play an important role in strengthening specialised vocational education, in the qualification and inspection of dual training sites, in the organisation of career counselling and career orientation tasks as well as national and international study competitions, and in the coordination and operation of SSCs.

Besides the state, business associations are also directly involved in financing VET (i.e. beyond paying taxes in the state budget). This is based on the so-called VET contribution payable by enterprises, which aims to develop and support dual training and practical training.

Payments go to a joint fund, which provides contributions to state-run VET institutions, to private institutions with a VET agreement with the State, to higher education institutions (in case of BAs/BSc requiring considerable practice) and out-of-school adult training institutions.

Contribution to VET, which is no longer a separate tax from 1 January 2022 but integrated into the social contribution tax, were required to be paid by various business associations. The rate of the contribution is 1.5 percent of the wage cost. According to the law, the obligation can be met as follows:

  • Fulfilling various tasks for the practical training of students in VET schools and higher education institutions.
  • By transferring the amount to VET schools based on a cooperation agreement;
  • Paying the pre-defined part of costs of vocational or language training courses provided to the employees of a company subject to payment of contributions;
  • If an enterprise fails to meet or only partially fulfils its obligation to contribute, it must pay the remaining amount to the tax authority. This constitutes the central fund for the development of VET.

The gross liability can be reduced by the amount equal to 20% of the tax credit used for a VET employment contract concluded for at least six months, if the student or the person participating in the training has successfully completed a vocational examination.

One of the main goals of the new Act on Vocational Education and Training  Act LXXX of 2019), which came into force on 1st January 2020 and its implementing government decree, published on 7th February 2020, is to further develop the dual training model and strengthen work-based learning. The new Act on Vocational Education and Training is based on the Strategy adopted by Government Resolution 1168/2019 (III. 28) titled   “ Vocational Education and training 4.0 – The mid-term policy strategy for renewing vocational education and training and adult training: the response of the VET system to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution”.

In accordance with the new regulations:

The SSCs represent the professional proposals of the organisations in each economic sector for the continuous development and modernisation of the content of VET, and the alignment of labour market needs and training supply. They keep track of the development of the structure of VET in their sector, economic, labour market and technical-technological developments, and make proposals on that basis. Apprenticeship contracts have been replaced by VET employment contracts, which are concluded between the student and a company, but in which, as well as the practical course, theoretical training is also provided and its duration also counts towards the length of service. While previously students only spent practical lessons at the company, but in the new system they spend full working days there.

The possibility of a student pre-contract is also eliminated. Prior to the specialised vocational education, the student or the person participating in the training may enter into a pre-VET contract with the dual training provider, in which the parties undertake to conclude a VET employment contract at a later date for the purpose of the specialised vocational education. The dual training provider may carry out a student selection procedure before concluding a VET employment contract.

The Chamber remains responsible for registering dual training providers, and employment contracts are recorded by companies in the NEPTUN-KRÉTA system, but data must also be provided to the Chamber of Commerce. If the student is unable to complete the practical training under an employment contract, he/she can complete it in a school workshop within the framework of the existing student relationship.

From the 2020/2021 academic year, both the guarantee by the Chamber for the student to undertake the practical training in an enterprise and the co-operation agreement have been abolished, however, it remains the Chamber's responsibility to find a place for VET students for practical training. In grades 11-13 of the five-class technicum andin grades 10-11 of the three-year vocational school, it is possible to attend specialised vocational education with an employment contract.

The guarantee by the Chamber is brought back into regulation from September 2021, meaning that students can only spend their specialised education in school if there is no dual training place available. This is certified by the Chamber as defined in its internal regulation.

The changes have been phasing in since the 2020/2021 school year. 

From the 2020/2021 school year, on the other hand, only a VET employment contract can be concluded as a new contract. The student or the person participating in the training is considered to be employed in terms of entitlement to social security benefits during the period of the VET employment contract; the duration of the employment relationship counts towards the length of service entitling the employee to a pension, and the salary counts as income included in pension calculations. Under the VET employment contract, students receive a salary from the dual training provider, the amount of which is at least sixty percent of the monthly minimum wage. However, for high-achieving students, this amount can be as high as the current minimum wage.

State support for schools is provided by two state institution maintainers (Klebelsberg Centre [KC] responsible for public education, and the  National Office for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning [NIVE] responsible for vocational education and training). State support from KC is distributed through school district centres that are still relatively centralised, but now have more autonomy since 2017, whereas the amounts from NIVE is distributed through VET centres founded in 2015. Basic schools and upper secondary schools belonging to KC, do not have an independent budget. From 2017 fewer educational districts (59 instead of 196) can make their own decisions on the use of funds, under the control of the school district centre. 

Furthermore, after the withdrawal of sources in the initial years, the financial conditions also improved. VET centres that provide specialised upper secondary vocational education also have their independent budgets, while the schools belonging to them have a budget, the use of which must be approved by the competent VET centre. The management and budget conditions of vocational training centres have been affected by several changes in recent years. Based on the chancellery system introduced in 2019, vocational training centres are operated by the new managers. The budget of vocational training centres increased significantly in 2020 in connection with the salary increase of vocational training instructors. VET centres receive significant development support and additional operational support from the National Employment Fund, and from 2021 onwards, from the Economy Protection Fund, and some chapter-managed appropriations from the Ministry for Innovation and Technology.

TheAct LXXX of 2019 on Vocational Education and Training introduced a new notion regarding the teaching staff of VET institutions (teachers, lecturers with agency contracts, practical instructors, etc.). From the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021 teachers in VET institutions are uniformly called INSTRUCTORS. That is, in VET institutions, the general education tasks, the sectoral basic education and the special vocational education tasks are performed by the instructors who either have an employment relationship with the VET institution or have a legal relationship as a part-time instructor. The new legal background therefore discontinues the former rigid provisions of the Act on The Status of Civil Servants, considering that the expectations of the VET system require flexible legal relationships and working conditions adjusted to the labour market situation, in order to involve practitioners (engineers, economists and other professionals) in vocational education and training as widely as possible. However, the legal status of the instructors also changed from 1st July 2020, as they are no longer subject to the Act on The Status of Civil Servants but to the provisions of the Civil and Labour Code. However, they continue to be entitled to civil servant benefits including a teacher ID card, the requisite number of paid holidays, anniversary bonuses, etc. Therefore, the change in their legal status does not have a detrimental effect on anyone. The reason for the change is that, as civil servants, their salaries were based on the civil servant wage grid that is not competitive with salaries in the business sector. The salaries of those working in vocational education and training institutions have increased significantly since 1st July 2020. 35 billion HUF of additional funding was provided from the state budget, which allows for an average of 30 % increase, the exact amount of the pay rise will be determined on an individual basis. The new pay system is performance-based and affects around 32,000 people working in VET and adult learning.

In order for the most qualified VET instructors to teach the most up-to-date knowledge, they must attend at least 60 hours of compulsory further training every four years from the 2020/2021 academic year. Further training is organised by the Minister responsible for VET through the Innovative Training Support Centre (IKK Zrt,). The ’IKK’ is responsible for national strategic planning, coordination, organisation and continuous revision of the VET instructors’ training and further training. To implement this task professionally, the operates a nationally unified In-Service Training System. The system contributes to the renewal of VET, helps to develop the digital competence of instructors and promotes the improvement of the quality of VET. The further training of the VET instructor must be completed primarily in a corporate environment or training centre. Failure to comply with the further training obligation may result in termination of the instructor's employment relationship. The instructor is exempted from the obligation to further training if there is less than five years left to reach the retirement age applicableto him. The instructor is evaluated every three years by the director of the VET institution. VET institutions must have developed and implemented an evaluation system of instructors  as a part of theirquality management system by 31st August 2022. State-maintained VET institutions maintained by vocational training centres are financed from the budget line provided for in the Act on the Annual National Budget. In the case of non-state-maintained VET institutions (run by churches, foundations), the payer is the Hungarian State Treasury (MÁK).

VET contributions paid to the tax authority are transferred to the training fund of the National Employment Fund (from 2021 onwards, the Economy Protection Employment Fund). The Minister responsible for VET and Adult Learning exercises the right to manage the usage of this amount.

The training fund of the National Employment Fund includes

a) the costs of the performance of tasks related to VET, the organisation, operation and development of vocational training, as well as the costs of the scholarship, one-off career start allowance and various forms of support provided to VET students and

b) appropriations for the financing of dual training under the Act on Higher Education.

The training fund of the National Employment Fund may be used to provide support for the organisation and development of adult learning activities under the Act on Adult Education.

The training fund 

1. can be used in the framework of VET basic task performance:

a) for the payment of scholarships, the one-off career start allowance and other forms of support provided to VET students, with the exception of the law enforcement scholarship,

b) for comprehensive measuring of students’ basic skills,

c) to reduce the number of early school leavers in VET institutions, to return drop-outs to education and to implement talent development programs.

2. can be used in the context of the operation of vocational training:

a) to cover the operating costs of the state-run vocational training school and the state vocational training bodies (National Office for Vocational Education and Adult learning and IKK Innovative Training Support Centre Ltd.) not financed by central support,

b) to support state-owned VET institutions and VET public administrative bodies for investment and renovation purposes,

c) to perform the task of the VET public administrative bodies in the field of vocational training,

d) the tasks of the Chamber of Commerce specified in the Act on Chambers of Commerce and in the Act on Vocational Education and Training, as well as the performance of vocational training tasks included in the agreement concluded with the Minister responsible for VET,

e) operating costs and development projects related to the dual training activities of the VET centres,

f) to develop and operate a vocational training information system,

3. it can be used in the context of the promotion and development of vocational training:

a) for activities related to the dissemination of information on VET and the promotion of vocational training,

b) for the development of curricula and teaching aids necessary for the modernisation of vocational training and the development of central programs,

c) to organise national study competitions and international professional competitions held in Hungary, and costs related to Hungarian participation in an international professional study competition, and in connection with this, for awards for Hungarian competitors who have won medals or special recognition in WorldSkills, EuroSkills or other international competitions

d) for further training of instructors,

e) to implement a central program related to vocational training based on the decision of the Government,

f) to pre-finance and co-finance an EU-funded VET program,

It can also be used:

4. to provide support related to the organisation and development of adult learning activities in accordance with the Act on Adult Education,

5. to finance the fees, costs and expenses specified in Section 39 (4) of Act IV of 1991 on the Promotion of Employment and the Unemployment Benefits,

Grants may be provided from the training fund based on applications:

a) to set up a workshop for specialised vocational educational purposes if it is linked to the intention to act as a VET centre, or

b) to improve the material conditions of specialised vocational education in an existing workshop of a VET training centre.

On 24 June 2021, Act LXXXIII of 2021 on the amendment of certain Acts related to VET and adult learning, and on 30 June 2021, Government Decree 380/2021 on the amendment of certain Government Decrees related to VET were published.

The purpose of the amendment is to clarify and supplement the detailed rules aimed at the more efficient operation of the VET and adult learning system - renewed in 2020 - supporting a wider range of tasks. The amendments were made by actors from VET and the economy, based on the professional proposals of the working group of the VET Innovation Council, which was formed for this purpose. The amendments were made by actors from VET and the economy based on the professional proposals summarised by the VET Innovation Council working group set up for this purpose. The changes are effective partly from 2021 and partly from 2022.According to the legislation, the modification of the rules on the possible duration of a VET employment contract helps to organise continuous practical courses at companies. This allows shorter fixed-term VET employment contracts once a year. This also supports the inclusion of dual training providers into VET, that are cannot provide the conditions for education for the entire duration of the programme, or where the nature and content of the vocation do not justify a VET employment contract for the entire duration of the programme. A VET employment contract may be concluded with a student in VET

  1. for the duration of the programme, or
  2. once a year for a continuous period of at least 4 weeks and not more than 12 weeks.

This provides an opportunity to conclude a short-term VET employment contract during the summer; it is applicable from 1 July 2021.

Financial autonomy and control

The financing of kindergartens depends on the income-generating capacity of local governments. Since 2013, the state has been playing a significant role in financing salaries and this support is based on a uniform set of criteria. Today, the different financial situation of the maintainers is more apparent in the differences in the infrastructure and the material equipment of their kindergarten. The financial autonomy of kindergartens varies; it depends on the maintainer municipality.

In larger settlements kindergartens are often merged into a large organisational unit, which can also mean financial independence within the large kindergarten organisation thus-formed. In the case of smaller settlements, the chances of the financial independence of small kindergarten units are small. In some cases, kindergarten units cover several settlements; all with different maintenance and financing structures. In smaller settlements, it used to be common practice to integrate a kindergarten and a basic school into one organisation. This option was abolished in 2013 when the state took over the schools.

In the case of public educational institutions maintained by school district centres, teachers receive their salaries from the school district centre. Salaries are based on the nationally uniform wage grid, however, as the wage grid does not determine actual salaries but minimum salaries, the wage differences resulting from the previous municipal system have remained in many places.

The budgets of the school district centres and the Klebersberg Centre are earmarked in the Act on the Annual National Budget.

Each of the school district centres is an independent budgetary body which, due to its legal personality, can take its own decisions at the expense of its own budget, which promotes a more efficient decision-making mechanism adapted to local conditions, and at the same time results in the decentralisation of the maintainer system that ensures the performance of public education.

Unlike the former KLIK, Klebersberg Centre does not perform any maintenance or operating tasks. As a sub-central public administrative body, it ensures the professional and strategic coordination of the maintenance activities of the school district centres; coordinates and assists the operation of school district centres (while respecting their autonomy), thus, playing a crucial role in ensuring similar conditions for all school district centres and creating a stable, unified system.

As a result of the restructuring, the system of maintainers has become more efficient, decisions are now made locally, adjusted to local needs. Both the school district centres and the Klebersberg Centre strive for constructive cooperation with the heads of the institutions, relying on their experience to achieve a common goal. School district centres are in constant contact with the institutions; they are well acquainted with their educational environment, local endowments, achievements and challenges and they support their operation. The heads of the institutions were given enhanced decision-making powers in the new system.

With the centralised system of operation and maintenance, the state assumes full responsibility for public educational institutions. The most important goal of the state-run institution maintainer system is to provide the necessary infrastructural background, qualified human resources (sufficient number of teachers), and sufficient budgetary resources to ensure quality education in schools.

Regarding the financing system of the institutions maintained by the Ministry of Culture and Innovation (previously the Ministry of National Economy and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology), it can be said that VET centres have autonomy with regard to VET institutions. The introduction of the chancellery system in VET centres demonstrates the attempt to reduce the quality differences; the chancellery system is similar to that of higher education institutions, and is regulated by the Act CIV. of 2018. According to this, the responsible manager of the VET centre is the director general, but the Chancellor, as a new actor, is responsible for the institution’s financial, labour, legal activities and asset management. The Chancellor is not a financial director with strengthened powers, but a senior manager responsible for the operation of the institution. The management-type approach of VET centres aims to ensure that vocational education can satisfy the needs of businesses operating in the institutions’ area.

A VET institution is a legal entity of the VET centre with its own budget. The VET centre shall provide the VET institution (operating as part of the VET centre) with the equipment necessary and suitable for the performance of the basic vocational training tasks.


Fees within public education

By virtue of Articles 88 and 89 of the Act on National Public Education, the operation of the public education system is financed by the state budget, which may be supplemented by fees charged for services provided to children and students and any other revenues of the public educational institution. From the students’ perspective, both kindergarten care and participation in public education are free for all. Yet, the Hungarian educational system does have tuition and other fees. Tuition fees are typically paid in arts education institutions or for education not related to the pedagogical program of the given educational institution, and in the case of VET, for the study of a third profession. Thus, the state continues to provide free access to vocational training within VET institutions. 

According to Act LXXXIII of 2021, published on 24 June 2021, the scope of those entitled to free participation in VET has been extended: up to the age of 25, disadvantaged people, people with special educational needs or disabilities have unlimited access to VET, allowing them to learn any number of vocations. Pursuant to the amendment, for free participation in VET, the profession (1) and the vocational qualification (2) acquired after the Act on VET came into force (1 September 2021) may be taken into account – qualifications acquired before that are not affected.

The state provides the following free of charge in VET institutions maintained by the state or by the maintainer of the cooperation agreement:

  • the acquisition of the first two professions (including participation in the preparatory year and school workshop programme) until the completion of the first vocational examination, and for the second vocational qualification for a maximum of three school years;
  • the first vocational qualification of the vocational training until the first qualification examination; and
  • the completion of the secondary school-leaving examination within the framework of a student status or legal relationship of adult education  in technikum.

Preparing for a profession that includes an existing partial vocation and taking a vocational examination (in order to perform a job to a higher standard) is not considered as the acquisition of a new profession, it is not relevant in terms of free participation in VET.

  • In VET institutions maintained by the state or by the maintainer of a cooperation agreement, participation in VET (with a student status) is always free of charge for multiple disadvantaged students and students with special educational needs or disabilities.

These VET institutions provide free of charge to those entitled to free participation in VET: activities directly related to VET, the study and processing of curricula, daily Physical Education, the grading examination, the differential exam and the related remedial and supplementary examinations. (The free admission to remedial and supplementary examinations also applies to the first remedial and supplementary examination taken after the termination of the student's or adult education status. ) It provides free health care and compulsory regular health supervision, participation in other activities, study trips or other vocational programmes organised by the VET institution in connection with vocational education and training outside the VET institution, as well as educational care for catching up and development, vocational materials used by the student during education or training, the necessary working clothes and protective equipment.

Fees are paid primarily for meals and dormitory accommodation.

Thus, the new regulation continues to stipulate that the state provides support for the performance of basic vocational education tasks. The costs of specialised vocational education provided in a VET institution are financed by the central budget and the maintainer. The costs of the specialised vocational education organised by the dual training provider are financed by the dual training provider, as defined in the regulations.

Low-income families and families with a minimum of three children receive a 100% discount on meals in kindergarten and 50% in school, in accordance with Act XXXI of 1997 on Child Protection and Guardianship Administration and Government Decree 328/2011.

Non-state institutions that have a public education agreement with the state may not charge tuition fees. In the case of schools with no such agreement, the maintainer can determine both the amount of the tuition fee and the rules for the discounts that may be granted.

In the case of non-state vocational schools, the condition for receiving support from the national budget is that the maintainer concludes a VET agreement with the responsible ministry.

Financial support for learners' families

In Hungary, the Family Support Act regulates the state system of financial support for families. The state provides a monthly schooling grant for the child's upbringing and schooling expenses. Parents receive this grant by subjective right until the child reaches the end of compulsory school age or completes upper secondary school  but no later than the end of the year in which the pupil reaches the age of 20. From the beginning of the 2010/2011 academic year the provision stipulates that the payment of the schooling grant must be suspended if the child’s unjustified absence reaches 50 lessons.  Another provision is offered in the form of the child-raising grant: parents with three or more minor children are entitled to this support by subjective right. The grant is due from the time the youngest child reaches the age of three, until he or she reaches the age of eight. 

The child has the right to receive free or reduced-price meals at the kindergarten, depending on the financial situation of his/her family, in cases specified by special legislation. Institutional childcare shall be provided free of charge to a child in pre-school education if:

- they receive a regular child protection benefit;

- if he/she is permanently ill or disabled, or is living in a family with a permanently ill or disabled child;

- lives in a family with three or more children;

- lives in a family in which, according to the parent's declaration, the amount of the monthly income per person does not exceed 130% of the compulsory minimum wage less personal income tax, employee, health insurance and pension contributions (HUF 139 184 in 2021);

- is fostered.

All persons in the educational establishment who require a dietary meal certified by a specialist doctor must be provided with a dietary meal appropriate to their condition. If the municipal government provides the meals for children, the institutional fee is set by the municipal government.

Starting from 2013, the State introduced free access to textbooks for basic school students in a phasing-in system, based on the Act on Public Education. In the 2020/2021 academic year, all students in grades 1-9 receive the textbooks free of charge, regardless of maintainer; furthermore, all children in need also receive free textbooks in other grades.

If a student participates in full-time vocational education and training, he/she is entitled to the benefits specified by law (e.g. scholarship, one-time career start allowance, student card, dormitory placement, award). Scholarships are awarded to students in all sectoral basic education and specialised vocational education institutions, as well as in certain preparatory years of a school programme and in the school workshop programmes. According to the law, a new type of support is the one-off career start allowance, to which the student is entitled if he or she completes the training and acquires a profession. The amount and conditions of the scholarship, the one-off career start allowance and support are performance-dependent, thus encouraging students to participate in vocational training seriously, effectively and efficiently. The one-off start-up allowance will be available to young people starting their first job after graduation to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship, at a rate of 80-180% of the minimum wage, depending on their results.

These financial incentives are designed to create a vocational training system that provides families and students with existential security during their studies, offsetting social disadvantages and offering attractive career prospects within the framework of vocational training.

Financial support for families of pupils with special educational needs

In addition to the State, local governments may determine entitlement to regular child protection allowance on a social basis. Families with extremely low income and severely ill children receive this form of support. The local government of the permanent residence of the child decides on the form of the allowance (pecuniary, in kind).

As regards school meals, support can also be received based on social criteria. Students receiving regular child protection allowance and attending full-time school education, children in families with three or more children, permanently ill or disabled students are entitled to this support.

In all cases, participation in vocational education and training in the framework of an apprenticeship is free of charge for persons with multiple disadvantages and persons with special educational needs or disabilities in vocational education and training institutions maintained by the State or by a maintainer with a cooperation agreement.

In connection with the vocational education and training provided by the vocational education and training establishment in which the pupil participates free of charge, the pupil is entitled to a grant by means of an application on the basis of his/her need and good academic performance.

To be eligible for a specific grant, a pupil must be considered to be disadvantaged or in receipt of regular child protection benefit at the time of application or during the previous five years and have a grade point average of over 3.50 in the end-of-year assessment for the school year preceding the year of application.

The monthly rate of the grant, if the pupil has an end-of-year qualification in the previous academic year which can be taken into account in the context of vocational education and training, is

  • 10 % if the average grade point average of the end-of-year assessment for the previous academic year is between 3.50 and 3.99;,
  • 15 % if the average of the marks obtained in the end-of-year assessment of the previous school year is between 4.00 and 4.49;,
  • 20 % if the average grade point average of the end-of-year assessment of the previous school year is above 4.49.,

Financial support for learners

The state provides students with a student identification card, with which they can receive discounts for travel costs and cultural events, etc, and can prove their entitlement to benefits and allowances based on their student status. Types of student IDs: full-time student, part-time student, student enrolled in correspondence course, distance learning or other special programmes. The card is given to students through the school. A pupil can travel to school free of charge if he or she is of compulsory school age and his or her catchment area school is in another settlement. The municipality of his/her place of residence provides free transport. Eligibility is certified by the notary. The student is entitled to remuneration for all things acquired by the school or college, which were produced by the student or which were created in connection with the student's legal relationship.

The Road to Secondary School sub-program aims to prepare students for upper secondary education, the Road to School leaving exam sub-program helps students to successfully complete secondary school, and the Road to a Profession sub-program contributes to overcoming learning difficulties of VET students.

In Hungary, in line with the new Act LXXX of 2019 on Vocational Education and Training, a general vocational training scholarship has been phased in starting from the 2020/2021 academic year, to which all students are entitled who participate in full-time education or in a VET institution to obtain their first occupation. The scholarship is paid from the Training Fund of the Economy Protection Employment Fund (formerly known as National Employment Fund until 2021). Pursuant to the law, the National Vocational Education and Adult Learning Office is obliged to ensure the transfer of scholarships. To facilitate the transfer of the scholarship funds, all students had to have a bank account by 5th October, 2020, the details of which were also recorded in the KRÉTA system, as the payment is made through this system. Eligibility to the scholarship is also displayed in the KRÉTA system. For students who do not have a bank account, an interface was created within the KRÉTA system in cooperation with MKB Bank and by connecting it to the banking systems the online account opening was facilitated. A bank account package called “MKB – Your Future” was created, tailored specifically to the needs of students in vocational education.

In sectoral basic education, the amount of the general vocational training scholarship is tied to the current minimum wage. In 2020, students in technicums received 5% of the monthly minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year, amounting to HUF 8,050; and students in vocational schools received 10% of the monthly minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year, amounting to HUF 16,100 per month, as long as they are enrolled in sectoral basic education. There is a difference between the amount of the scholarships in the two types of schools because this type of training lasts for two years in the technicums and only one year in the vocational schools. In the preparatory year of some programmes, the scholarship rate is 5% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the respective academic year, while in the School workshop programme, students are eligible to 50% of the scholarship provided to students enrolled in the sectoral basic education of the vocational school.

Within the framework of specialised vocational education, if it takes place in a VET institution, students are also entitled to a vocational training scholarship, the extent of which is depends on academic results, as follows:

  • if the average grade at the end of the previous academic year is between 2.00 and 2.99, the scholarship rate is 5% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year
  • if the average grade at the end of the previous academic year is between 3.00 and 3.99, the scholarship rate is 15% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year
  • if the average grade at the end of the previous academic year is between 4.00 and 4.49, the scholarship rate is 25% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year
  • if the average grade at the end of the previous academic year is between 4.49 and 5.00, the scholarship rate is 35% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year

If VET students are enrolled in dual training based on a VET employment contract, they receive a salary instead of a scholarship. According to the Act on Vocational Education and Training, the amount of the monthly salary is a minimum of 60% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the year the VET employment contract was concluded. However, for high-achieving students, this amount can be as high as the current minimum wage. Students are only entitled to one type of support at a time: either a scholarship or a salary.

Wages and other benefits are paid to the apprentice (trainee) for a full month from the date of entry into force of the training contract. If the apprenticeship contract is concluded or terminated after the start of the apprenticeship year, during the month, the apprentice (trainee) is entitled to the pro rata share of the wages and benefits.

A significant tax deduction may be claimed by the business organisation for apprentices (trainees) who have a vocational training contract. The employer may deduct the excess or the major part of the net wage of the trainee in the form of a tax credit, the amount of which depends mainly on the multipliers applied (multiplier for the number of years of study, multiplier for the number of years of study) and the number of working days in the dual training place.

One of the most significant innovations of the new Vocational Training Act is that the apprentice will be treated as an employee in the dual training place, which means that the employer will have higher expectations of him/her than in the previous apprenticeship contract. A 10th-form student is of course less able to participate in the value creation of the dual training place, whereas an 11th-form student can already perform an increasing number of activities of benefit to the dual training place on the basis of his/her knowledge and experience. This difference is compensated for by the introduction of a grade multiplier which affects the amount of tax relief that can be claimed.

The payment of a general vocational training scholarship is subject to conditions. A student who is required to repeat a year or whose unjustified absence reaches six sessions is not eligible for a scholarship.

The Act LXXX of 2019 on Vocational Education and Training also introduced the one-off career start allowance, to which a student is entitled if he or she completes the vocational school and obtains vocational qualification. The extent of this allowance varies depending on the result of the exam as follows:

  • if the exam result is between 2.00 and 2.99, the allowance is 80% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year
  • if the exam result is between 3.00 and 3.99, the allowance is 110% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year
  • if the exam result is between 4.00 and 4.49, the allowance is 145% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year
  • if the exam result is between 4.49 and 5.00, the allowance is 180% of the minimum wage valid on the first day of the academic year

Private education

The Act on Public Education determines who and within what framework is entitled to establish and operate public education institutions that are not maintained by the state or local government. Within this category, the Act on Public Education distinguishes between public educational institutions maintained by a national self-government, an ecclesiastical legal entity, a religious association, or any another person or organisation. If a public education institution is not established by the state or a local government (including an association of local governments) an operating permit is required.

The central budget provides financial support to any institution maintained by a non-state body for the performance of public education tasks if the institution carries out its activities in accordance with the provisions of its operating permit.

The state guarantees the financial support of public educational institutions maintained by churches with legal personality and minority self-governments, but the state contribution to public educational institutions of other private maintainers is always determined by the annual Act on the Annual National Budget. The state support and funding are detailed in the Act on the Annual National Budget.

Pursuant to the Public Education Act, the Minister responsible for education may enter into a public education agreement with the maintainer of a non-state public education institution. The content, validity period and rules of concluding a public education agreement are regulated by the implementing decree of the Act on Public Education.

In the case of non-state-run vocational upper secondary schools and vocational schools, the condition for using state support was that the maintainer must have concluded a vocational training agreement with the responsible minister.

The Act of 2018 on Budget provides a uniform average wage-based subsidy for all non-state schools, similar to the principle applied for municipal kindergartens. Furthermore, schools for national minorities and schools of larger churches receive a contribution to the operating expenses that is proportional to their number of pupils. All schools receive funding for school meals and textbooks (in order to provide these at a discount or free of charge for eligible children and pupils). In addition, some of the larger churches receive additional support for teaching religious and moral studies, as well as for their textbooks.

Nationality Study Scholarship:

The aim of the scholarship is to promote the higher education of secondary school students of a nationality listed in the Nationality Act, who are of outstanding ability and live in difficult social circumstances. The application is open to students of Hungarian citizenship who, according to the declaration, belong to a nationality, have an average grade point average of at least 4.00 at the end of the academic year preceding the application, and do not receive any other scholarship from any other source for the same period.

The amount of the scholarship is HUF 30,000 per student per month, to which the pupil is entitled for the two school years following 1 September of the award of the scholarship, in the case of a successful application.

Roma Nationality Study Scholarship:

The aim of the scholarship scheme is to provide grants to secondary school pupils of Roma ethnicity with outstanding abilities, based on the recommendations of secondary schools providing Roma education, in order to promote their further studies at higher education institutions. Secondary education institutions and their pupils are jointly eligible to apply. The application is open to students of Hungarian nationality who declare that they belong to the Roma ethnic group, have an average academic result of at least 4.00 out of 4 at the end of the academic year preceding the submission of the application, and do not receive any other study grants from other sources for the same period.

The amount of the scholarship is HUF 30,000 per pupil per month, to which the pupil is entitled for the two academic years following 1 September following the date of the award of the scholarship, in the case of a successful application.