1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 


  1. Terminology

According to the 1867 Basic Law on General Rights of Citizensanyone has the right to set up a private school. The 1962 School Organization Act (as amended in 2021), refers to ‘private schools’ as schools that are built and maintained by school owners other than the state in accordance with the provision of the Private Schools Act (1962 amended 2020). The latter in its art. 17 also mentions denominational private schools, i.e. the schools created by legally recognised churches and religious societies and their institutions as well as those by associations, foundations and funds that are recognised as denominational schools by the competent ecclesiastical (religious) higher authority.

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

In Austria, most schools (87%) at primary (4 years, beginning at age 6), lower secondary (4 years, beginning at age 10), and upper secondary level (four years, beginning at age 14) are state schools. Compulsory and free education is provided for nine years (ages 6 to 15).

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found. 

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found.

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private schools are those that are established and maintained by actors different from the state. According to the Private Schools Act (1962 as amended in 2020), private schools can be distinguished between "private schools without public status” or "private schools with public status”. The latter have the right to issue certificates of school attendance, which have the same legal effect as certificates issued by similar public schools. All private schools must comply with curriculum, organisation, and facility standards in order to be authorised to operate. If parents or guardians enrol their child in a private school without public status, they must notify the education authority before starting the school year. Private schools may also be established through intergovernmental agreements in which a foreign curriculum is implemented. In Austria, the largest private school providers are faith-based schools, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. Other private educational institutions include Montessori, Waldorf, Islamic orJewish private schools, and international schools. In 2019/20, private schools represented 12.6% of all educational institutions and 10.7% of total student enrolment.  

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

According to the 1962 Private School Act (amended 2020), denominational private schools are granted federal subsidies for staff expenses. A non-denominational private school may also request subsidies from the federal government for staff expenses. However, it must comply with the requirements stipulated in the 1962 Private School Act (amended 2020). These include operating on a not-for-profit basis, organising admission procedures similar to public schools, and having the same minimum number of students per class as public schools of the same type or in the same local area. 

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools


According to the Compulsory Schooling Act, homeschooling can be included as part of compulsory education, provided that the lessons are equivalent to those being taught at public schools. The board of education must be notified if a child is to be homeschooled. Homeschooled children are required to take exams at the end of the school year to demonstrate that they have attained the main learning outcomes expected of schools.  

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found. 

Unregistered/Unrecognised schools

No information was found. 

  1. Governance and regulations

Austria is organised as a federal country, consisting of nine federal provinces. According to the 1962 Private Schools Act (amended in 2020), the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is responsible for approving the establishment, statute, and funding of private schools. Private higher education is regulated by the Private Higher Education Act, while the accreditation of private HEIs is under the responsibility of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria.

The Education Directorate of each Federal State is the education authority in their jurisdiction responsible for school supervision and teacher allocation. For Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Federal States are responsible for issuing regulations for the operation and financing of kindergartens within their jurisdiction. 

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) includes elementary facilities (like nurseries and kindergartens) for children aged 0-5.  According to Eurydice, approximately 40% of kindergartens in Austria are run privately, mostly by private associations (60.9%) and church organisations (28.3%). Kindergartens can be established by companies or private individuals. 


Registration and approval: To establish a private nursery or preschool, proprietors must request authorisation from the competent educational authority in their respective Federal State. Art. 20 of the 2008 Act on Childcare sets that the establishment of an ECCE institution shall be permitted if a) the legal entity or its representative body has either Austrian citizenship or the citizenship of a state whose nationals are granted the same rights as Austrian nationals on the basis of international treaties, b) the proposed institution is in compliance with state law on pedagogical, staff and spatial requirements, and c) the number of children regularly attending the facility meets the minimum number specified in §13. 

While Federal States differ in regulations, basic requirements for establishment include the fulfilment of the minimum required number of children in all groups and care facilities, staff compliance with professional requirements, and the suitability of the premises (including minimum space requirements and health and safety standards).

Licence: The authority may grant the license if conditions related to the child's best interest are met (e.g. health and safety standards). 

Financial operation

Profit-makingAccording to the 2008 Law on Childcare in Burgenland, kindergartens may not operate for profit, although legal entities may collect contributions for meals or child participation in special activities, depending on the financial capacity of parents. 

Taxes and subsidiesThe government provides incentives for the establishment of all-day, qualified ECCE services that serve full-time working parents, in accordance with the Agreement between the federal government and states on elementary education for the kindergarten years 2018/19 to 2021/22. The federal government grants subsidies to states in accordance with Section II for the expansion of appropriate ECCE services and early language development, which receive at least 65% and 25% of the federal grant respectively. The remaining 10% of the federal subsidy can be used flexibly by states for purposes specified in subsections (1) and (2). 

In Vienna, children can register for a subsidised kindergarten place at private kindergartens, with the subsidy paid directly to the private educational institutions. 

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards:  The cross-state educational framework is implemented nationwide within all state curricula. Further guides such as the Werteleitfaden (relating to pedagogical values) must also be applied in accordance with Art. 15a B-VG between the federal government and federal states on early childhood education for the kindergarten years 2018/19 to 2021/22. If granted authorisation, educational institutions may also implement alternative educational programs. 

Teaching professionAll kindergarten staff are required to comply with federal and state employment standards in accordance with the Federal Act on professional employment requirements for kindergarten teachers and Art. 15a B-VG

Equitable access

Fee-settingNo fees shall be charged for children attending compulsory pre-primary education 4 days a week for 20 hours, as stipulated in Art.15a B-VG. 

Admission selection and processesAccording to the 2008 Law on childcare in Burgenland, private ECCE centres may limit admission to children of members of specific companies if a contribution is made. 

Policies for vulnerable groups: In Vienna, parents or guardians may apply for exemption from school feeding contributions, while low-income families may apply for fee reductions.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: According to the 2008 Law on childcare in Burgenland, legal entities are required to provide the state government with necessary information on their childcare services for statistical purposes.

Inspection: Kindergartens and nurseries are subject to inspection by the state education authority, which must be granted access to the premises and any necessary documents. The results of inspection must be documented in writing.

Child assessment: In Austria, all educational institutions are required to undergo a national assessment on German language skills for children with German as either their first language (“BESK Kompakt”) or second language (“BESK-DaZ Kompakt”).

Sanctions: If a private nursery or preschool ceases to meet its registration requirements, the state government may sanction or close the institution. Institutions may also be subject to fines if they fail to meet certain regulations such as having untrained staff or exceeding the maximum number of children per group. 


Registration and approval: For an individual or legal entity to establish an educational institution, providers must fulfil the requirements set in the1962 Private School Act (as amended in 2020). All educational institutions are required to comply with standards in infrastructure, curriculum, teacher qualifications, and financial resources. Education authorities must be notified of the establishment of a private school at least 3 months before the school intends to open, with evidence of compliance with relevant legal standards (Art. 7). The establishment of a private school may be prohibited by education authorities if the provisions referred to in paragraph 1 are not met. 

Licence:  According to the 1962 Private School Act (as amended in 2020), private schools are given public status if the education offered meets the standards of the Austrian school system and the class instruction corresponds to that of a similar public school. Private schools that do not correspond to similar public schools are accorded public status if the curriculum, facilities, organisation, and teacher qualifications comply with federal standards, the school has proven its ability to delivery quality education, and there are suitable learning and teaching materials in place (Article 14). 

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)School premises are required to comply with the hygiene standards set in the 1962 Private School Act (amended in 2020) (Art. 6).

Financial operation

Profit-making: While no ban on profit-making was found, according to the 1962 Private School Act (amended in 2020), private schools established under public law that are non-denominational or fall outside of eligible categories listed in Art. 17 can only receive state subsidies if they are non-profit (Art. 21).

Taxes and subsidies: According to the 1962 Private School Act (as amended in 2020), denominational private schools of public status are granted federal subsidies for staff expenses (Art. 17) The federal government may also grant subsidies to non-denominational schools of public status if the school meets enrolment needs, does not operate for profit, and admissions and class sizes are organised similar to public schools. The Federal Act on the Taxation of Transactions additionally stipulates that private schools may be exempt from VAT tax if they demonstrate to be comparable to public schools (Art. 6). 

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: All educational institutions are required to comply with the general education and curriculum objectives, as stipulated in the 1986 School Teaching Act (amended in 2021). Private schools of public status can apply for approval of an alternative education program with the federal government (Art. 7). According to the1962 School Organisation Act (amended 2021), private schools may also use a foreign language as their main language of instruction, upon approval from the competent school authority. The introduction of an international curriculum can additionally be introduced on the basis of intergovernmental agreements. According to the Federal Act concerning religious instruction in school, a legally recognised church or religious society is responsible for issuing the curriculum for religious instruction. 

Textbooks and learning materials: Private schools may only use textbooks that have been approved by school authorities, in accordance with the 1962 Private School Act (amended 2020). According to the Federal Act concerning religious instruction in school, textbooks and learning materials used for religious instruction must also not contradict civic education. 

Teaching professionAll educators are required to comply with the academic and training requirements set in the 1962 School Organisation Act (amended in 2021).

Corporal punishment: Corporal punishment is prohibited in the 1986 School Teaching Act (amended in 2021).

Other safety measures and COVID-19: The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research issued different guidelines and regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidelines included modifications to virtual classes, language programmes, summer programmes, vaccinations, testing, and procedures for resuming face-to-face classes. 

Equitable access

Fee-setting: Private educational institutions charge fees at an amount determined by the provider, with some schools charging a one-time registration fee.

Admission selection and processes: According to the1986 School Teaching Act (amended in 2021), admission procedures at private schools are carried out on the basis of a legal contract between the student and the school owner. Private schools established by a legally recognised church or religious society that are not of public status are allowed to select students on the basis of language and gender.

Policies for vulnerable groups: The Schooling Allowances Act allows families to apply for education allowances based on income, family size, and marital status.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: Private schools are required to appoint a director for school administrative purposes, in accordance with the 1962 Private School Act (amended in 2020). 

Reporting requirements: All educational institutions are required to comply with the the Quality Management System for Schools (QMS) standards, which are compulsory for all types of general education institutions in Austria.

School inspection: The inspection of private schools is regulated in the 1962 Private School Act (amended in 2020), with schools prohibited from denying school authorities access to school properties, lesson observation, and relevant school files. 

Student assessment: To access higher education, students must complete the Matura examination at the end of secondary education

Diplomas and degreesPrivate schools that have been granted public status may issue state-valid certificates. Students attending private schools without public status must prove through an external examination that their knowledge is equivalent to that of students in public schools or private schools with public status. According to the 1962  Private School Act (amended in 2020), private school diplomas cannot be identical or confused with diplomas of public schools. 

Sanctions: According to the 1962 Private School Act (amended in 2020), private schools are prohibited from operating without government authorisation, or issuing diplomas similar to another school of public status. If a school fails to comply with the required conditions to operate, private school authorisation may be withdrawn or revoked, and the school ordered to close. 

In 2021, there were 22 public universities, 16 private universities, two theological schools, 21 universities of applied sciences, and 14 colleges of teacher education.


Registration and approval:  For a private higher education institution to be established in Austria, providers must apply for accreditation with the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria and meet the requirements set in the 2021 Private Higher Education Act and the Federal Act on External Quality Assurance in Higher Education. According to the Accreditation Regulation for Private HEIs, the criteria for institutional accreditation include a developed profile and objectives, development plan, organisation, course offering, university staff, funding, infrastructure, and quality management system. A prescribed fee must accompany all applications.

Licence: The formal federal recognition of a private HEI (known as accreditation) is initially granted for six years, after which accreditation can be granted up to twelve years. All private HEIs are required to apply for reaccreditation.

Financial operation

Profit-making: No information was found.

Taxes and subsidies: Private HEIs are granted tax exemptions in accordance with the 1988 Income Tax ActThe 2021 Private Higher Education Act states that financial support may not be extended to a private HEI, with exceptions for specific research services and development/innovation programs. 

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards According to the 2021 Private Higher Education Act, the programs and curricula of private HEIs must comply with technical and formal requirements that adhere to international standards. Private HEIs are required to apply for individual degree programme accreditation.

Teaching professionTeachers of private HEIs have similar treatment to educators in Austrian public universities in accordance with the provisions of the Settlement and Residence Act and the Foreigners Employment Act, as well as the ordinances issued based on these federal laws. 

Equitable access

Fee-setting: There is no restriction on the fees charged by private HEIs.

Admission selection and processes:  The admission procedures of private HEIs are assessed during the accreditation process of an individual degree programme. Private HEIs decide whether they want to apply admissions regulations, with all admission procedures required to be published on their university website.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: According to the Private Higher Education Act, each private HEI must establish and publish institutional management regulations.

Reporting requirements: According to the Private Higher Education Act, private HEIs must submit a report on the developments of the academic year to the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria by the end of May each year. The report should include information on the advancement of the HEI's objectives, staff, student and graduate composition, financial structure, gender representation measures, and analysis of any developments in the degree programs. 

Inspection: Private HEIs must submit an annual report on key performance areas to the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria, which should then be published in accordance with the Private Higher Education Act. According to the Federal Act on External Quality Assurance in Higher Education, the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria is responsible for the supervision of accredited HEIs.

Assessment: No information was found.

Diplomas and degrees:  Private HEIs are entitled to award academic degrees similar to those offered by public universities if the student's master thesis is publicly available or has been guaranteed sufficient publicity. 

Sanctions:  According to the Federal Act on External Quality Assurance in Higher Education, private HEIs that cease to comply with the requirements for accreditation may have their program accreditation revoked. 

3.2 Supplementary private tutoring

There was no regulatory framework found for supplementary private tutoring in Austria. However, according to the study of the Austrian Chamber of Labour, AK Study: Tutoring in Austria 2020, 28% of the respondents received paid or unpaid tutoring during the school year, amounting to approximately 317,000 students nationwide. During the 2020 pandemic, new digital tutoring platforms emerged, such as GoStudent.


No information was found.

Financial operation and quality

Private tutoring services are not eligible for sales tax exemption, therefore tutors tax the delivery of their services at the normal tax rate of 20% and claim the input tax associated with this activity. However, if the income from tutoring does not exceed € 30,000 per year, tutors are exempt from sales tax (in accordance with 'small business regulation'). 

Teaching profession

No information was found.

Last modified:

Tue, 28/02/2023 - 15:02