Accreditation and public funding of private universities
Today, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) presented the report "Accreditation and Public Funding of Private Universities" (in German).
It audited the accreditation and financing of private universities from June to December 2018. The audit aimed at presenting and assessing the development of private universities, the role of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria, the selection and appointment of experts for the assessment of applications, the involvement of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the ban on financing for the Federation, any possible financing by the provinces and the municipalities and the financing of private universities as exemplified by the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (Lower Austria) and the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz (Upper Austria).
The audited period spanned the years from 2014 through 2017. In individual cases, the ACA also considered relevant matters outside this period.
- The Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria should revise the provisions of the Decree on the Accreditation of Private Universities (Privatuniversitäten–Akkreditierungsverordnung) in such a way that they render the statutory requirements for accreditation procedures more concrete. This is to ensure a better operational procedural practice – including the preparation of expert opinions.
- Prior to the transmission of applications to experts, the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria should ensure that the information provided in the application is consistently verifiable. In particular as regards electronically processed data, the underlying computation should be disclosed to guarantee the derivability of the figures.
- The Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria should continually request from the private universities the provision of statistical information related to funding, to which it is entitled pursuant to the Private Universities Act (Privatuniversitätengesetz). This is especially to ensure transparency on the administration of public funds.
- In the framework of financial planning, the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria should, together with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, develop measures and strategies in order to increase again the share of other (own) revenue of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria compared to the federal funds.
- The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research should evaluate which (other) data should be collected also by private universities in order to carry out a cross-sector analysis and to derive information for the management of the higher education area or of individual higher education sectors.
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