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Higher education funding

Liechtenstein

3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 27 November 2023

Funding

Tertiary A (higher education, academic)

There is no automatic claim for state subsidy based on the granting of a permission for the foundation and management of a higher education institution. Such state subsidies are given on a legal basis to specific higher education institusion (e.g. University of Liechtenstein) or on the basis of a performance agreement between a higher education institution and the government provided that there is a public interest and the institution fulfills a need.

Also, institutions of research conducting research that is relevant to Liechtenstein (Liechtenstein Institute) can be supported within the framework of a performance agreement.

As a foundation under public law the University of Liechtenstein is subsidized or rather carried by the state. The state assigns the movable assets necessary for the management of the University of Liechtenstein and puts the rooms necessary for university operations at their disposal free of charge. The state also pays a state contribution based on financial decisions. Liechtenstein maintains agreements with Switzerland and Austria that secure college places at national terms for residents of Liechtenstein.

According to the Education Statistics 2020, government contributions to universities of applied sciences in 2019 amounted to CHF 5 196 946 million, to universities abroad CHF 4 819 954 and to the University of Liechtenstein CHF 13 800 000.

Tertiary B (higher professional education)

Financing vocational education is regulated by the Law on Vocational Education and Training. The state bears the costs for school fees (e.g. training colleges and vocational upper secondary schools), for the compulsory training courses of the vocational trainers, for the exams and other qualification procedures, for remedial courses and optional courses at training colleges etc. The state also makes contributions e.g. to external courses, to preparatory actions for the basic vocational training, for international coordination in the field of vocational education etc.

Liechtenstein does not have its own training colleges and is therefore dependent on Switzerland's range of schooling (inter-cantonal agreements). According to the 2020 education statistics, government expenditure on PET in 2019 amounted to CHF 2 639 391 million.

Fees within public higher education

Tuition fees at the University of Liechtenstein are CHF 950.-- per semester. Tuition fees at the two private universities depending on the courses of study are considerably higher.

Financial support for the families of students

In principle, the legal guardians are obliged to pay for the costs incurred until their children complete their initial education. In case of limited financial means, students can apply for scholarships or educational grants.

Financial support for students

The allocation of educational grants is regulated by the Scholarship Law. The state grants education subsidies in the form of scholarships (without repayment obligation) and interest-free loans (must be repaid). In principle, persons resident in Liechtenstein who can prove at least 3 years of uninterrupted residence or a total of at least 5 years of ordinary residence in Liechtenstein at the time of commencement of education are entitled to apply for an education grant. The amount of the education grant is determined according to the principle of subsidiarity (depending on the income and assets of the legal guardians). From the age of 25 (irrespective of the income of the legal guardians), an education allowance can be applied for in the form of a scholarship and an interest-free loan. It may expire when the maximum duration of training has been exhausted. From the age of 32, no grants are awarded but only loans for educational purposes. Support is provided for initial and secondary school and vocational training leading to a qualification recognised in Liechtenstein, as well as for recognised further training.

Government expenditure on scholarships was CHF 3 014 318 million and on student loans CHF 1 655 067, according to Education Statistics 2020, 2019.

Private and state-supported educational institutions 

Tuition fees are set by the private institutions. 

Educational grants can also be applied for to attend a private institution. However, only if the degree is state-recognised. The same conditions apply for education grants or tax deductions as for public institutions.