Representative IFES study shows that Universities of Applied Sciences have the best image values of all Austrian educational institutions.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences, the Austrian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences (FHK) commissioned a large-scale image study. By means of an online survey, 3,200 Austrians were asked about the general image of the education sectors and especially about the characteristics profiles of universities of applied sciences (UAS) and universities (Uni).
Universities of applied sciences enjoy a very good image among the population as a whole. The general impression among the educational institutions surveyed in Austria is best for universities of applied sciences. 69% of the respondents had a very good or good impression of universities of applied sciences, followed by universities (65%) and vocational secondary schools (64%). New medium-sized schools (32%) and polytechnic schools (26%) came last in the ranking.
In particular, the streamlined organization of studies, support and service, practical relevance and the proximity to the business and potential employers are perceived as strengths of universities of applied sciences.
A total of 86% of respondents found the organization of studies at universities of applied sciences (admission procedure, graduation within a specified time, limited number of study places) very good or good. Universities of applied sciences graduates rate the organization of their studies much better than university graduates (94% vs. 68%). The information and general framework conditions of the program are also rated very highly. 66% felt very well or well informed. Universities of applied sciences graduates also rate this aspect much better than university graduates (82% vs. 60%).
Characteristics profile of colleges and universities
Universities of applied sciences are considered modern and innovative. The characteristics profile of the two educational institutions surveyed is clearly in favor of the universities of applied sciences. Around 7 out of 10 respondents (between 68% and 73%) believe that universities of applied sciences are useful, target-oriented, offer good career prospects and are important. Universities are attributed these qualities in the range of 53% to 66%. In addition, a good 6 out of 10 respondents (between 61% and 66%) attributed the universities of applied sciences the following characteristics: contemporary, relevant to the labor market, economically and industry-oriented, modern, efficient, practice-oriented, innovative, highly regarded and solution-oriented. For universities, the percentages range between 41% and 45%. In terms of openness to new ideas, universities tend to be rated better (63% UAS vs. 69% Uni).
High satisfaction with studies
The survey also asked about various aspects of the studies themselves. The survey showed that UAS graduates and UAS students are significantly more satisfied than university graduates and students. With regard to practical relevance (UAS: 76%, Uni: 38%; very and rather satisfied), relevance of content (79% vs. 65%), technical equipment (70% vs. 41%), support and service (70% vs. 47%), commitment and mentoring by lecturers (71% vs. 55%) as well as the available teaching materials (73% vs. 60%), all showing that universities of applied sciences performed much better. In particular, the quality of service and the modernity of the facilities are clear strengths of the universities of applied sciences.
The general conditions of universities of applied sciences degree programs have the positive aspect that most students assume a minimum degree period and that there are sufficient places available in the courses for all students. Approximately 7 out of 10 UAS students (71%) assume that they will complete their studies in minimum time; among university students the figure is 40%. Approximately six out of 10 (UAS) students (62%) consider the number of places available in their courses to be sufficient (university: 51%).
The study conditions in general are rated very well by the students, although here students of colleges tend to be more satisfied than is the case with universities.
Strong practical relevance and economic proximity
A clear strength of universities of applied sciences is the practical relevance and proximity to business and the world of work. The chances of finding a job are better seen at universities of applied sciences than at universities. More than two-thirds of UAS students and UAS graduates have the following advantages over universities:
There are no significant differences between the two educational institutions in terms of the range of courses offered and the quality of training - both rank at a very high level.
Impressive standing in the education system
The importance of higher education is undisputedly high. 84% of the population are of the opinion that universities of applied sciences have a very high or high value in the Austrian education system. In a direct comparison between universities of applied sciences and universities, the two educational institutions rank equally: 32% rate the status of universities of applied sciences higher, the same number consider universities to be higher, and 36% both see them at the same high level.
The study can be downloaded from the FHK homepage: www.fhk.ac.at/
Thomas Madritsch (FH Kufstein Tirol), Walter Draxl (FH Gesundheit) and Andreas Altmann (MCI) see themselves affirmed in their many years of work:
"For 25 years, Austria's universities of applied sciences have symbolized the combining of science and practice, internationality, service orientation, innovation, entrepreneurial dynamism and, last but not least, excellent career prospects for graduates. This is reflected in excellent image values and a high reputation in the economy as well as in the social and health sector".