Country information for Austria - Financing of inclusive education systems

Public schools

Access to school is free of charge for all learners in public schools.

In Austria public schools are either financed:

  • completely by the federal state (teacher salaries, maintenance of school buildings) in terms of academic secondary schools, higher vocational schools, teacher training colleges etc.;
  • by the federal state (teacher salaries) and the communities (school maintenance) in terms of compulsory schools (primary, lower-secondary, special or pre-vocational schools);
  • by the federal state (teacher salaries) and a federal province (school maintenance), e.g. part-time vocational schools.

Private schools

The majority of private schools are (officially recognised) denominational schools and are maintained by the respective church. The federal state is obliged to finance teacher salaries. Private associations who are in favour of a special pedagogy (‘reform pedagogy’, such as Waldorf, etc.) and who develop a particular curriculum that is not in line with the national curriculum are totally financed by their stakeholders. If they fulfil certain given criteria, they may also get financial support from the state authorities. If private schools follow the national curriculum the Ministry of Education may give them the mandate to provide legal state certification (private schools with ‘public law status’).

Funding of compulsory schools

The construction and maintenance of schools is principally the responsibility of the municipalities and, in some cases, of the provinces. The federal government deploys staff resources, which are administered by the provincial governments.

Funding of special needs support in compulsory schools

The federal government provides the provinces with funding for additional staff resources for special needs education (for 2.7% of all learners aged between 6 and 15). The municipalities are responsible for additional equipment required for learners with special educational needs (SEN). The provinces fund special measures, such as therapeutic support and devices, according to the Provincial Disability Acts.

The number of established posts for teachers per Land is calculated on the basis of numbers of learners divided by ratios per school type. These are established within the framework of the financial adjustment system between the federal government and the Länder. The increased need for special needs education staff is taken into account: an special needs teacher post is made available for 3.2 learners, whereas the figure is 14.5 learners for primary schools, 10 learners for lower-secondary schools, and 9 learners for vocational schools. In terms of the budget, this means that the federal government provides considerably more funding for children and young people with special educational needs than for learners without SEN.

Additional teachers are made available to provide educational support for the integration of learners with disabilities into the upper stage of grammar school and vocational secondary schools and colleges.

Financial aid for families who have children with disabilities

Families who have children with disabilities are supported through allowances, benefits and tax reliefs. The increased family allowance and the nursing allowance depend on the child’s age and disability. A tax reduction is also possible when there are extraordinary expenses (hospital costs, therapeutic care, etc.). In addition, families who have children with disabilities are granted an income tax allowance.

Financial aid for families also covers additional costs, such as technical aids, therapy, early intervention, travel expenses and additional costs for day-care institutions. The health authorities, disabled relief associations and insurance companies pay these costs. Further financial support is provided, for example, in the form of fare reductions on public transport, or benefits for extraordinary expenses (rent, insurance, heating costs, etc.).

The school books campaign – financed by the Family Burden Equalisation Fund – is a benefit in kind to equip learners with the necessary materials for lessons.

At a regional level, among other things budget funding is provided for necessary benefits and services such as school assistance, aids and the accessibility of compulsory and nursery schools.

Last updated 15/09/2020

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