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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Financing of adult education and training


3.Funding in education

3.3Financing of adult education and training

Last update: 28 March 2024


The new VET Act differentiates between vocational education and vocational training as part of the VET. This includes the teaching of the above-mentioned basic vocations. At the same time, vocational training can also be provided by an adult training service provider if the adult training activity has been licensed in advance. Thus, adult learning can take place within the framework of adult education and adult training. 

Vocational training courses are not defined by law, so training courses can be developed more flexibly, responding to labour market needs. Vocational training can only be aimed at preparation for a vocational qualification that does not belong to the vocational occupations (basic vocations) defined in the Register of Vocational Qualifications , and the law allows a maximum of 30% overlap between the competencies that can be acquired by vocational training or a basic vocation. 

As part of adult training, in addition to vocational training, training for partial vocations, internal company training, training organised on the basis of law (formerly training organised by the authorities) and other training based on market needs can be organised. Everything hereafter is part of the training in some school system (public education, VET, higher education). Diverse opportunities for lifelong learning are ensured.

The financing of school-based adult education fits into the financing of the school system, which means that in public education and vocational education and training it takes place through the state maintenance entity, while in higher education, it is integrated into the financing of higher education.

In the current system, vocational training and partial vocations are available both in VET institutions and in adult training. Whereas in formal training, if the conditions of gratuity are met under the VET Act, the training is free of charge, but lasts somewhat longer, in the non-school-based adult training, training courses can be started at any time, in any grouping – regardless of the academic year order –, but, in the absence of a support programme, they must be self-funded. The partial vocations are not listed in the Register of Vocational Qualifications, they are equivalent to the former partial qualifications. The programme outcomes standards and requirements for each vocational occupation listed in the Register of Vocational Qualifications indicate whether it is possible to obtain a partial vocation within the given basic vocation. 

Non-school-based training falls within the scope of the Adult Training Act (2013. évi LXXVII. törvény a felnőttképzésről) and its implementing decree (12/2020. (II.7.) Korm. rendelet a felnőttképzési törvény végrehajtásáról). The category of the adult training activity is now wider; all organised training targeted at competence building and development falls within the scope of the Adult Training Act. Training courses include the so-called employment training organised for the unemployed and jobseekers (young people starting their careers or adults), the training of those who seek to obtain a vocational qualification or those who already have a vocational qualification, as well as the professional advance training of those employed, etc. Vocational training in accordance with the VET Act and vocational education for partial vocations are subject to a licence according to the Adult Training Act; vocational education aimed at the acquisition of a vocational occupation can only be conducted by VET institutions.

The Dobbantó (Springboard) programme is available in adult education, as well. Not only school-aged children are welcome in the Dobbantó programme and the workshop schools, but also adults who are trying to get by on the labour market without a vocation. Pupils in workshop schools and training participants are entitled to half of the scholarship for which vocational school students are eligible in the sectoral basic education.

Adult training is normally self-funded, i.e. the participants must finance the course fee and any other costs.

However, there are some cases where this may change.

Adult training courses can be financed in the following four ways:

  • individual financing, self-funded course, so the participant pays the training fee him or herself;

  • training implemented with state support (including training supported by the employment centre and EU tenders);

  • the financing of the course is undertaken by the employer, the companies support the learning of their own employees;

  • the training is financed from an interest-free training loan, where under certain conditions the debt can be released, e.g. through child support.

The Adult Training Act Sections 23–25, the Government Decree 11/2020 (II.7.) implementing the Adult Training Act Sections 26/B–26/C, and the Government Decree 1/2012 (I. 20.) on the student loan system (1/2012. (I.20.) Kormányrendelet a hallgatói hitelrendszerről), Sections 23/B–23/F and 29/A regulate the use of the adult training subsidy funds (training organised as part of the adult training activity, scholarship, training loan).

Use of adult training subsidy funds

Section 23  (1) The state can provide subsidy

a) to obtain the licence required for adult training activities,
b)  for training organised as part of adult training activities,
c)  to improve the technical conditions of adult training institutions and
d)  for training of special importance for the national economy.

24. § In connection with the adult training contract they have signed, participants in the training can apply for a) a training loan or
b) scholarship as specified in the Government Decree.

The 2020 amendment of the Adult Training Act made it possible for scholarships to be granted in connection with the adult training contract from 1 July 2020. Conditions for awarding the scholarship: 

  • Scholarship can be granted for training with at least 50 hours of training time or for training of special importance for the national economy, if:

  • the training participant is not entitled to a training loan or has not applied for a training loan.

  • The training participant is entitled to the scholarship until the end of the adult training but for a maximum of two years after the commencement of the training.

  • A scholarship cannot be awarded in connection with a training programme for which the training participant receives employment support.

  • The scholarship can be granted monthly, in an amount corresponding to no more than 75%, or, in the case of training of special importance for the national economy, to no more than two months’ amount of the guaranteed minimum wage established as basic salary for an employee employed in a position requiring at least secondary school education or secondary VET valid on the day of the signing of the adult training contract.

  • The training participant is obliged to repay the full amount of the scholarship to the adult training institution if he or she does not complete the training or, in the case of vocational training, does not obtain a professional qualification. 

The scholarship is provided by the adult training institution. 

Fees paid by pupils and students

Adult education in a school system is free. In the past, tuition fees had to be paid only for studying for the second vocational occupation (basic vocation), while currently, they have to be paid for studying for the third vocation. 

VET is free for adults in the following cases when organised by VET institutions

  • First vocational occupation: until the completion of the first professional exam.

  • Second vocational occupation: for a maximum of three academic years.

  • First vocational qualification that can be obtained in vocational training: until the completion of the first qualification exam – if the vocational training is organised by a VET institution.

These trainings can be connected or complementary or even in different fields. For the purposes of free participation in VET, preparation for a vocation that includes the existing partial vocation and taking a professional exam to perform the job at a higher standard is not considered as an independent vocation.

It is possible to enter vocational education at any age. A person who has not reached the age of 25 at the time of enrolment may even acquire the second vocational occupation as a student in full-time education. In this case, the student is eligible for a VET scholarship for the acquisition of his/her first vocational occupation. For persons over 25, vocational education is provided under an adult training status. The advantage of adult training status is that vocational education can be organised more flexibly and the training time can be shortened. As of 1 September 2021, not only those with student status but also those with adult training status in VET institutions are entitled to a student card and related discounts.

A fee must be paid for the higher education admission procedure, and higher education studies of adults are usually (but not always) self-funded.

In non-school-based adult training,there are opportunities both for free and self-funded learning, depending on whether the training provider or the individual receives any subsidy.

According to statistical data, the total cost of the training is typically paid by the participants themselves. Mixed funding is rare, that is, a significant part of the training is paid either by a sponsor (workplace, state, etc.) or by the participant. In the case of state-funded, so-called employment training (e.g. training for the unemployed or jobseekers), the training fee is partially or fully covered by the employment services operating in government offices.

Adult training institutions are obliged to determine the training fee in a single amount in the adult training contract, and in addition to the training fee stated in the adult training contract, they must not charge any additional fees or reimbursements payable by the training participants.

Support for participants in adult training

To cover the costs of participating in adult training, adults – similarly to full-time students – are entitled to take out a state-regulated low-interest student loan, which they can pay back following the completion of their studies (Government Decree 1/2012 (I. 20.), Section 29/A on the student loan system (1/2012. (I.20.) Kormányrendelet a hallgatói hitelrendszerről)).

From May 2021, the Student Loan Centre offers training loans that serve to ensure that potential financial burdens associated with studying do not become an obstacle for those aged 18-55 participating in vocational or adult trainingIn the year of the launch, those interested could opt for either Training Loan 1 or 2. The monthly amount of the Training Loan 1, which could be freely used, ranged from HUF 15,000 to HUF 150,000. The Training Loan 2 could be used to pay the tuition fees for self-financed training; in this case, the money was not transferred to the student, but to the educational institution. However, since of 20 December 2021, only the Training Loan 2 product remains available, under the name Training Loan. The Training Loan can be taken out if the training lasts at least 3 months, and can be repaid over up to 10 years. Currently, more than 120,000 people over the age of 18 are participating in vocational and adult training, and they are entitled to apply for training loans. Training loans can significantly increase the popularity of vocational and adult training, facilitate labour market mobility, and fill in shortage occupations. Since its inception, more than 700 training courses have been launched where the opportunity of the Training Loan was utilised.  The Training Loan can be applied for at no interest, and the maximum amount is HUF 500,000. Loans can be applied for online, through access to a client portal; although there is no credit assessment, proof of participation in training is required. The system of family subsidies also applies to training loans: after taking out the loan, after the second child, half of the mother's training loan debt is released; and after the third child the training loan does not have to be repaid at all. The systems of training loans and higher education student loans are interconnected: if a person has acquired a diploma and then chooses to complete complementary adult training, his repayment obligation is suspended for the duration of the training and he can also take out the training loan; and it works the same way the other way around.

To support equal access to training, the fees for training offered or accepted for adult jobseekers and registered unemployed are reimbursed – in part or in full – by the employment services of the government offices organising the training. Furthermore, adults participating in subsidised training may receive reimbursement of costs (meals, travel, accommodation).

School-based VET available to the adult population:

In the case of formal training, in addition to the student status, an adult training status adapted to the modified education and training structure was introduced, which differentiates between persons under and over 25 years old, participants in vocational education and vocational training. Thus, depending on the type of education (non-school or school-based) or the age of the training participant, it is possible to participate in VET either with a student status or as an adult training participant status. Those with a student or an adult training participant status can participate in the specialised education at the dual training site under a VET employment contract. The student or the training participant can only have one VET employment contract. In matters not regulated by the VET Act, the provisions of the Labour Code Act apply to the VET employment contract. The student or the training participant is entitled to a monthly wage for the work performed under the VET employment contract.

Persons who have reached the age of 25 can only participate in vocational education preparing for a vocational occupation in a VET institution under an adult training contract. As specified in its vocational programme, the VET institution must consider any completed studies, and any time worked in the same field in employment before starting the VET, towards the fulfilment of the requirements of the same content prescribed for that occupation. Under an adult training contract, the duration of vocational education can be reduced to a quarter at most, and its number of hours to 40% of the number of hours of full-time occupational education. This means that, compared to the period specified in the Register of Vocational Qualifications, a training course can be completed in a significantly shorter period, for example in a year instead of two.

The new adult learning system seeks to ensure that the needs of the economy are taken into account as much as possible when determining the support for training, creating demand for this type of training. Therefore, the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which operates as a public-law chamber and can therefore be granted powers, and is closely cooperates with economic actors, was is involved in the operation of the new system.

The private sector and support for it

Private institutions have the right to provide school-based adult education, as well, under the same conditions as youth education. State-maintained schools, various legal entities, and individual entrepreneurs are also entitled to provide non-school training. In principle, the system is sector-neutral; however, for example, educational institutions have been given a prominent role in the state training programmes launched and supported for public employees; in the case of the training of the disadvantaged, an independent organisation under the control of the Ministry of the Interior was created. The aim of the General Directorate for Equal Opportunities is to bring together and coordinate the training for disadvantaged people in Hungary, as well as to facilitate the spread of training programmes coupled with employment to facilitate re-entry into the labour market.

The new VET and adult training system that is now more flexible is able to prioritise labour market demand over training supply, thus enhancing the labour market opportunities of young people studying the occupation and adults changing careers. Therefore, in addition to VET in Hungary, the system of adult training and adult education has undertaken to effectively serve real labour needs.

The range of activities constituting adult training activity has been expanded to include all education and training that is purposefully aimed at competence building and development and is carried out in an organised manner. Outside a VET institution, VET can be performed in the framework of vocational education preparing for a partial vocation and vocational training preparing for a vocational qualification, by an adult training provider licensed to perform adult training activities under the Adult Training Act. In other words, the adult training provider cannot carry out activities that belong to the basic task of educational institutions, e.g. teaching basic vocational occupations; of the VET, it can only carry out preparation for partial vocations and vocational training.

Basic vocation can be studied in technicums (technicum) and vocational schools, where sectoral basic education is followed by vocational education and training. The curriculum is based on the Programme Outcomes Standards and Requirements. Successfully completing the training in the technicum or vocational school and passing the exam leads to vocational qualification.

A partial vocation It is possible to study a partial vocation in the framework of the legal student relationship of the student (typically in a workshop school) and in the legal student relationship of adult education. Vocational training and output requirements - as a partial vocation - can be defined as an independently separable part of a profession, which enables the acquisition of competencies necessary for filling at least one job. In other words, in the case of a partial vocation, as well, the curriculum is determined by the programme outcomes standards and requirements and a professional qualification can be obtained by successfully completing the training and passing a professional exam. Learning one or more partial vocations can be attractive for those who do not wish to learn an entire basic vocational occupation, or their job and interests involve several (partial) vocations. The provision of vocational education preparing for a partial vocation, requires a licence.

Vocational training is defined as training that can essentially be completed under adult training status, is based on vocational education or is not available as a basic vocational occupation, but entitles one to hold a job and prepares him or her for the performance of a work activity. In the case of vocational training, the curriculum (the learning outputs) and the exam requirements are determined by the programme requirements, and their acquisition is proven by a certificate at the end of the training. A state-recognised professional qualification can also be obtained by successfully passing an exam at an accredited exam centre. 

Other trainings include trainings that do not qualify as VET or training organised according to the law, or as internal company training, which fall within the scope of the Adult Training Act. After such training, no state-recognised exam can be taken and thus no professional qualification can be obtained; the training participant can request a certificate as proof of the successful completion of the training.

Adult training can be provided on the basis of notification or licence. A licence is required for adult training activities in connection with which an exam can be taken, and also if education or training is financed partly or entirely with the support of the national budget or European Union funds. As part of the adult training activities performed on the basis of a licence, stricter operational requirements similar to the current regulations must be complied with, such as the provision of a financial guarantee. In comparison, in the case of adult training activities that are subject to notification, only a few rules must be complied with.

Reducing the administrative burdens affecting adult training providers can increase the efficiency of adult training institutions, thus improving the attractiveness of adult training activities and increasing the adult training supply and competition. Strategic steps aimed at reducing the administrative burden include reducing the set of data that must be reported, simplifying the data reporting, providing a one-stop shop for it and digitising it.

The Adult Training Act applies to all sole traders or businesses whose activities and operations include adult training. Those who work as adult trainers (even as organisers and managers of internal training) can choose between two options. If they do not provide VET and do not organise training that is financed from the national budget or EU funds, their adult training activities are subject to a notification obligation. This category also includes activities aimed at the training of own employees. If they are providing VET (only vocational training or partial vocation training is possible) or they are also organising subsidised training, then their adult training activities must be licensed.

The notification and the licence application can be submitted to the state administration body responsible for adult training. Simultaneously with the submission of the notification or the licence application, the adult training provider pays a one-off administrative service fee. The notification and the licence application can be submitted to the State Administration for Adult Training, in the Adult Training Data Providing System (Felnőttképzési Adatszolgáltatási Rendszer).

The government designated the Pest County Government Office (PVKH) as the state administration body for adult training. The PVKH performs the official tasks related to adult training activities. In this context, based on the notifications and the licences issued by it, it keeps a register of adult training institutions and adult training experts and audits the activities of adult training institutions and adult training experts. The minister responsible for adult training exercises the governing powers over the PVKH in relation to its tasks related to adult training.