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Types of higher education institutions


7.Higher education

7.1Types of higher education institutions

Last update: 27 November 2023

Higher education institutions in the Slovak Republic are legal entities. In terms of funding system, ownership and their seat, they are divided into:

  • public higher education institutions with seat in the Slovak Republic,
  • state higher education institutions with seat in the Slovak Republic,
  • private higher education institutions and
  • foreign higher education institutions.


Public higher education institutions

Public higher education institutions are public service and independent institutions founded and closed by law. The law also determines their name, classification, and seat. If a public higher education institution is divided into faculties, the faculties are founded with the institution.

Public higher education institutions are autonomous and self-governing and they are managed by self-governing bodies according to the internal rules of the higher education institutions.


State higher education institutions

State higher education institutions include police, military and healthcare higher education institutions. 

Students of military higher education institutions are students performing their military service. 

Police higher education institutions train experts for the police force in particular. They can be also attended by students who are not police employees.

Healthcare higher education institutions prepare students for individual health care professions.

Some state higher education institutions are not autonomous when defining the number of admitted applicants, creating study programmes and creating organisation structure, regarding which they are subject to the approval of the corresponding ministry. 

State higher education institutions are linked by their budget to the State budget as contributory or budgetary organisations of the respective ministry. The fields of study offered by state higher education institutions are not exclusively limited to these institutions; study programmes in the given fields of study, providing they meet the accreditation conditions, may be also provided by public and private higher education institutions. 


The private higher education institutions

A private higher education institution is a legal entity with its seat in the Slovak Republic or another member state; it was founded for the purpose of education and research. The Government of the Slovak Republic gives an approval to private entities to operate as private higher education institutions. The Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education gives a statement to the application.

The highest managing and decision-making authority of a private higher education institution is its management board. The scope of a private higher education institution's managing board is defined by the statute of the private higher education institution.


Foreign higher education institutions

Foreign higher education institutions provide higher education in the Slovak Republic in compliance with the legislature of their home country based on the authorisation granted by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic. Rights and obligations of a foreign higher education institution’s students are not governed by the Act on higher education but by the legislation of the institution’s home country. The equivalence of the obtained education certificates with the certificates awarded in the Slovak Republic (higher education diploma, state examination certificate, diploma supplement) is determined in the same way as in the case of education certificates obtained abroad. 


Legislative references

National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2002. Act No. 131/2002 on higher education and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provision (Zákon č. 131/2002 Z.z. o vysokých školách a zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov) (last accessed 21/12/2022).