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Financing your studies: This much is guaranteed

How can I finance my studies and complete them successfully without financial worries? These and similar questions should not only concern prospective students. The costs of studying are also a challenge in the later semesters, especially if the parents do not (or cannot) pay for their children’s education.

In our article on financing your studies, we tell you what costs you will incur during your university career and how you can cope with them.

Financing your studies: How much does higher education in Austria cost?

First things first. To begin with, we would like to give you an overview of the costs that can be expected for studying in Austria. For most first-year students, the total costs incurred during their university career should be the basis for deciding where they ultimately study.

After all, it does play a role whether you can cover the expenses for rent and living expenses in the city of your choice and whether you can afford to study.

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Average costs for students in Austria

To give you an impression of how high the average cost of studying in Austria is, we take a look at the Student Social Survey. This is a survey of Austrian students that gives an overview of the studying and living conditions of different groups of students. Of course, the individual situations of students always depends on different criteria.

Here we draw on the results of the 2019 study, in which 45,000 students took part.

The core report of the study states the financial budget of students:

In 2019, students had an average of €1,216 per month at their disposal.

Half of the students had a total monthly budget of up to €1,059. The available total budget is higher, the older the students are – this goes hand in hand with an increase in gainful employment. The income of students in their first year of study amounts to an average of €1,000.

The total costs for students in Austria in the 2019 summer semester averaged €1,016 per month. However, this does not include one-off expenses or major purchases.

We also found the breakdown of the items on which the costs are distributed exciting.

The social survey says:

Housing costs represent the largest item on the expenditure side (35% of total costs). This is followed in descending order by nutrition (22%), leisure time (9%), mobility (7%) and studies (7%). The amount of the costs depends on the age and living situation of the students.

Remember, these costs always represent an average value and of course the actual costs always depend on how you deal with your budget or what lifestyle you treat yourself to. But we’ll get to that in due course!

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Financing your studies: You should expect these running costs!

But now back to the general costs of studying in Austria.

In any case, you should expect the following expenses during your studies and calculate them accordingly in advance:

  • Relocation (once), where applicable
  • Rent & operating costs (monthly)
  • Telephone & Internet (monthly)
  • Insurance (monthly)
  • Living expenses (monthly)
  • Semester fee or administration, registration and re-registration fees at your university (per semester)
  • Possibly mobility costs that are not covered by the semester ticket (on a case-by-case basis)
  • Tuition fees & semester contribution

Of course, any contributions and fees that you have to transfer to the university should not be missing from a cost overview for your studies. So what are the tuition fees in Austria?

Fortunately, as a student, you don’t have to pay tuition fees at most universities and colleges or are exempt from them. This applies if you have Austrian citizenship or are an EU citizen and are within the standard period of study. Then only the semester contribution (ÖH contribution) is due, but this is quite low.

However, if you exceed the standard period of study after two tolerance semesters, you will be asked to pay. The tuition fees then amount to €363.36 per semester.

Students who do not have Austrian or EU citizenship, on the other hand, pay double the amount of tuition fees and the exemption usually does not apply to them.


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How can I finance my studies?

According to the last Student Social Survey (2019), the average cost of Austrian students is around €1,016 per month (for studying and living). In addition to grants, scholarships and student loans, there are numerous ways to finance your studies, such as saving money and earning money with a job alongside your studies.

The Student Social Survey mentioned above also shows that most students in Austria rely on various components to finance their studies:

In most cases, the total student budget is made up of several different sources of income.

The most important of these are support from the family (both in the form of cash and benefits in kind), state benefits (mainly family allowance and study grants) and income from own employment. In addition to student support, various other state benefits and savings are used to finance current living expenses.

Financing studies through grants

From these key statements from the survey of numerous students, it can be seen quite clearly that there is not necessarily just one common financing model during your studies. It is also clear that students are generally dependent on various sources to finance their studies.

One of these sources can be a government grant. While there is financial aid in Germany, for example through the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG for short) and child benefit, Austrian students can get aid.

Financial support through grants

Scholarships are just for nerds? Far from it! Granting scholarships is no longer just about grades. Various other factors also play a role when applying for a scholarship. Various forms of scholarships are now being awarded and there are also completely different requirements for the applicants. Whether from the state or other institutions such as universities and foundations, as long as you meet the respective requirements a scholarship can bring you a nice sum of money.

That was our overview of student financing and hopefully this has cleared up a few of your questions.

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