Well, Polaschek is announcing more FH study spots

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Now the federally funded study places at the universities of applied sciences (FH) are being expanded, Education Minister Martin Polaschek (ÖVP) announced on Tuesday. According to this, the new funding plan provides for 1,050 new student places or a total of 2,625 new student places by 2025/26. In January, a design without expansion caused a sensation.

Also new are special funds of 14 million euros per year for collaboration and innovations. The technical university conference still rejects the plan.

No changes to the planned increase in subsidy percentages
There are no changes from the draft in the planned increase in subsidy rates. Unlike the universities, FHs are financed by the federal government through subsidies per occupied study place (in addition, there are also training courses in the health sector that are mainly financed by the Länder, note). The subsidy percentages mainly increase with the technical part of the training. A ten percent rate increase came into effect at the beginning of January – since then it has been 10,700 euros instead of 9,700 euros for a university place with the highest share of technology. From October 1, 2024, the rates will be increased again by about 4.5 percent – in the above case to about 11,200 euros.

Three expansion levels, each with 350 beginner slots
The new study places should mainly arise in the areas of digitization and sustainability, and the MINT area (MINT stands for mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology) should also benefit from this. According to Polaschek, 350 new places for beginners will be created in three expansion phases. He saw the new plan as a “foundation for continuing the colleges’ 29-year success story.”

14 million euros per year for collaboration and innovations
Also new are special funds of 14 million euros per year for collaboration and innovations. The technical university conference still rejects the plan. The special fund of 14 million euros per year can be used for projects that do not fall under the basic financing rates. Examples include incentives to promote permeability or to collaborate with other universities and the economy. Think, for example, of dual programs in which work and study are closely linked, or the promotion of collaborative processes with universities. In the new plan, the universities of applied sciences do not have their own doctoral rights either.

Another detail: study place monitoring is being intensified. Almost 40 percent of the 529 courses are currently underutilized. Nearly 3,700 of the approximately 25,800 total places are vacant in the affected courses, of which nearly 1,700 are federally funded courses. These will be re-tendered and awarded by the federal government in the future.

Continued sharp criticism from the FH operators
The technical college conference, in which the FH operators unite, has also sharply criticized the plan. What irritates her most is that funding for university places is not being increased significantly. “A 4.5 percent increase in October 2024 is far too late and far too little,” said FH Secretary General Kurt Koleznik. “Inflation is galloping – you can’t create an education and research environment that is sufficient for the employees. We are reaching our limits there and we will have to keep our mouths shut.”

Source: Krone

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