The first private universities in Austria were founded approximately 20 years ago. Today, with 16 private universities, the sector complements the Austrian higher education sector and contributes significantly to its diversification. It offers market and demand-oriented training in innovative fields. Continuous internal and external evaluation of teaching and research by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) ensures a quality of education that meets international standards. This provides graduates with plenty of opportunities on the (international) job market.
Private universities are the third pillar of the tertiary education system in Austria and, at the same time, the sector of higher education with the fastest growth rates in Austria. With growth rates between 5% and 11%, almost 15 000 students and more than 200 degree programmes at 16 private universities, the sector boasts increasing demand. Private universities contribute significantly to the Austrian export of education with 39% of students being international students (as compared to 27% at public universities and 16% at universities of applied sciences). Moreover, the number of students registered at private universities has increased by 50% within the last five years.