Who we are

Over 20 years ago, in 1999, the Private Universities Act was passed in Austria. Ever since, private universities have been making a valuable contribution to the Austrian higher education sector by complementing and diversifying it. One of the objectives of the Austrian Private Universities Conference (Österreichische Privatuniversitäten-Konferenz, in short ÖPUK) is to encourage cooperation within and between the individual higher education sectors. Another responsibility is to represent the interests of the sector with regard to educational policy. In recent years, the private university sector in Austria has achieved continuous and successful growth: In the first half of 2019, the Bertha von Suttner Private University commenced its operations. In summer 2019, the Gustav Mahler Private University and the Central European University (CEU) were officially accredited by AQ Austria. Including these new additions, the total number of private universities in Austria has increased to 16. More private universities are currently in the planning stage.

Ever since private universities have been granted access to competitive federal research funding, research at Austria’s private universities has been remarkably successful. Moreover, further important steps to develop the private higher education sector have been taken: since 2014, private university students are included in the Austrian National Union of Students (Österreichische Hochschüler_innenschaft); in 2015, private universities have become members of the Assembly of Delegates of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and since 2016, they are members of the steering committee for the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Across Europe, there is a broad spectrum of private universities: Universalistic private universities (approx. 40% of students), subject-focused private universities (approx. 40% of students) and specialised private universities (approx. 20% of students). Thus, there is a broad range of courses and a wide diversity of available specialisations at private universities. By now, approximately 7% of all university students are attending a private university.

Fair competition, quality assurance procedures for the entire higher education sector as well as equal access to public funding: These and other recommendations are meant to increase transparency in the tertiary education sector.
Latest catalogue of requirements

Organisation

Vorsitzender
Univ. – Prof. Dr. Karl Wöber
MODUL University Vienna, Private University
Funktionsperiode:
09.10.2018-08.10.2021

Vorsitzender-Stv.
MMag. Dr. Stefan Hampl
Sigmund Freud Privatuniversität
Funktionsperiode:
09.10.2018-08.10.2021

Vorsitzender-Stv.
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sabine Schindler
UMIT
Private Universität für Gesundheitswissenschaften, Medizinische Informatik und Technik
Funktionsperiode: 09.10.2018-08.10.2021

Finanzreferent
Mag. Christian Hoffmann
MODUL University Vienna, Private University
Funktionsperiode:
09.10.2018-08.10.2021