Federal aid for Austrian students in Austria
The legal parameters covering student support, as stipulated in the Student Support Act of 1992 and enacted in numerable ordinances relating to this act, are a very special legal matter with three specifically remarkable aspects:
- The large group of students for whom a study grant, in addition to financial support payments, constitutes a considerable part of the financial resources required for their studies.
- The function of the Student Support Act within the framework of the Austrian legal system, which is being increasingly harmonized with other social policy legislation (family allowances, social insurance), and which thus reaches beyond the immediate scope of financial aid for students. This is why the Student Support Act assumes a key role among pertinent social policy legislation for students.
- The law on student support as a test case for public transfer payments -- a perspective which generates basic reflections on student aid.
The present paper on the legal parameters covering student support first addresses the federal programs which are in place for the financing of university studies. Subsequently, it outlines the specific regulations of the Student Support Act of 1992.
- Regular students at universities,
- Regular students at an Austrian university of the arts,
- Students at "Fachhochschulen" (universities of applied sciences),
- Applicants admitted to the university entrance qualification exam (preparatory course) for two semesters maximum,
- Regular students at educational institutions with public status or public Universities of Education,
- Students at Conservatories (in case of individual courses) and at comparable private schools with the exception of preparatory courses
- Under certain circumstances at private universities and "Fachhochschulen" (universities of applied sciences) and universities in South Tyrol (Bolzano province).
The students in question must be Austrian citizens in principle. Foreign citizens may only be treated equally in the case of close relation to Austria (at least 5 years subject to Austrian income tax via at least one parent), citizens of EEC-countries and citizens of a third country are generally treated equally, as far as it may be concluded from the treaty; and refugees under the Geneva Convention.
The social need is assessed on the basis of income and number of family members of the student, his/her parents and his/her spouse. The student´s income regarding the amount in cash is only relevant for periods of time during which the student receives study grants.
Income in the sense of the Student Support Act would be the annual gross income minus taxfree income, promotional costs and extraordinary expenses as well as similar expenses of relevance in terms of tax law. A certain amount of tax-free income and depreciation will be added. The term "income" as stipulated in the Student Support Act is in accordance with the income tax law of 1988.
It is required to submit proof of any income according to the most recent tax assessment, income from gainful employment by means of a pay slip of the most recent calendar year and income from agricultural and forestry activities as determined by the most recent assessed taxable property value (if there is no income tax assessment).
During the first two semesters of studies, admission as a regular student will suffice as proof of academic advancement. For the subsequent semesters, regulations require students to submit proof of academic advancement in a given field of study (ECTS-points or credits for courses and exams).
In the calculation of the total time of study 30 ECTS-Points are the equivalent to one semester. However, the pre-determined timeframe for completing one´s study programme may not be exceeded by more than one semester ("semester of tolerance").
Completion of Studies
The student is not allowed to have completed another study programme or a comparable post-secondary education in Austria or abroad.
The student must start his/her studies before completing his/her 30th birthday. Gainful employment, raising of children or disablement may increase the age limit for the commencement of a master program to a maximum of 35 years of age.
Generally students are allowed to work and be gainfully employed during their time of studies. If their annual income exceeds the amount of EUR 8.000, the exceeding amount will have to be paid back.
Change of Studies
The student may not change his/her field of studies more than two times and not later than after the second semester of former studies. (Reason: Only swift and serious studies will be subsidized). A delayed change of one´s study programme will result in non-eligibility for grants. It is possible, however, to be included in the programme of subsidies again after a required elapse of time and convincing academic advancement. The regulations of change of studies are also valid for the receipt of family allowance.
Insurance Cost Allowance
The insurance cost allowance is ex officio paid out regularly after the end of the semester by the study grant authority.
- Generally, in the case of single students: EUR 475 (EUR 5700/year)
- In the case of students whose parents have passed away: EUR 679 (EUR 8148/year)
- In the case of married students: EUR 679 (EUR 8148/year)
- In the case of students who have supported themselves for four years before starting their studies ("self-supporters"): EUR 679 (EUR 8148/year)
- In the case of students who must live in the university town because the daily travelling time from their home town to the university site would be unreasonable: EUR 679 (EUR 8148/year)
- In the case of students with children (living with parents/living far away from parents): EUR 542/EUR746 (EUR 6504 or EUR 8952/year)
As regards severely disabled students they receive additional 160 Euro or 420 Euro per month depending on the degree of disability if they live with their parents.
Transport Cost Allowance:
Transport cost allowance is designed to partly compensate students eligible for study grants for the eliminated supportive measures according to the Equalization Fund for Family Allowances Act (free transportation for pupils and students, grants for transportation to school).
Insurance Cost Allowance:
Insurance cost allowance is granted to students receiving study grants who have the opportunity of self-insurance within the framework of health insurance, if there is no option for co-insurance with parents. In the case of this type of subsidized self-insurance, one part of the insurance costs is financed by the Federal Ministry of Science and Research on the basis of a contract with the Association of Social Insurance Carriers. Students eligible for study grants receive the other part as well via an insurance cost subsidy. It amounts to 19 EUR per month (twelve times per year).
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