September 19th 2022

Inflation endangers Universities of Applied Sciences: Urgent appeal from Tyrol to the Federal Government!

In agreement with universities of applied sciences in other federal states, FH Kufstein, FH Gesundheit and MCI are calling on the Austrian Government to increase funding for student places by 20 percent, effective January 1, 2023.

Appeal to the Federal Government: Austrian universities of applied sciences call for an increase in student place funding. ©MCI/Kasper
Appeal to the Federal Government: Austrian universities of applied sciences call for an increase in student place funding. ©MCI/Kasper

The Tyrolean universities of applied sciences state, "We cannot cope with the massive inflation without a substantial increase in the Government's funding for study places," reads a "crisis letter" from the Austrian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences (FHK), the representative body of all universities of applied sciences in Austria.

The Tyrolean FHK board members Thomas Madritsch (FH Kufstein), Walter Draxl (FH Gesundheit) and Andreas Altmann (MCI) have also informed their supporting institutions (State of Tyrol, municipalities, social partners...) about this pressing appeal and are now jointly sending an urgent "call for help" to Vienna:

  • "While massive financial efforts are being made by the State of Tyrol to strengthen Tyrolean institutions (infrastructure, research, studies, continuing education, etc.), the Ministry of Science has yet to make binding commitments.
  • "We absolutely need a prompt inflationary adjustment. We are suffering from around 10% inflation, energy costs are exploding, staff costs are shooting through the roof due to contractual obligations and torn global supply chains add to the list."
  • "We request the Ministry of Science, in cooperation with the members of the Austrian Federal Government, to immediately meet the pressing funding needs of the universities of applied sciences and to adjust the funding rates per federally funded student place by at least 20 percent, as of January 1, 2023 at the latest."

Tyrolean Governor Günther Platter fully supports this concern, "Our universities of applied sciences stand for scientifically sound courses of study in the fields of technology, digitalization, life sciences, business, health and social issues. These professional fields in particular are highly relevant for Austria as an internationally competitive location." He continues, "Tyrol is investing extensively in university buildings, laboratories, research projects and, last but not least, in (co-)financing study places. It is the Federal Government's turn now", emphasizes the Tyrolean Governor.

Tyrolean Science Minister Annette Leja adds, "This is not about additional funds, but about an urgently needed compensation for the rampant inflation. Rising costs are causing the funds provided by the federal government per study place to massively decrease, and the recent inflation is alarming," says Regional Minister Annette Leja: "If the Federal Government does not react immediately, we will jeopardize a dynamic and relevant sector of Austria.”

Oswald Wolkenstein, Chairman of the MCI Supervisory Board and Managing Director of the sectors Industry, Banking and Insurance of the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce, agrees, "Who, if not our universities of applied sciences, is to train experts at the highest level in urgently needed professional fields and support our companies in matters of applied research, technology and innovation? However, this requires efficient framework conditions and immediate measures. Currently, the universities of applied sciences are on hold and urgently need support."

Eugen Stark, Managing Director of the Association of Austrian Industry Tyrol (Industriellenvereinigung Tirol), affirms, "For almost three decades, the Austrian universities of applied sciences have been writing a success story. Therefore, the IV Tyrol fully supports the demand for immediate inflation compensation. In addition, we insist on efficient framework conditions with efficient processes, rapid approvals and low bureaucracy. There is a need for additional action."

The three Tyrolean FH managing directors Thomas Madritsch, Walter Draxl and Andreas Altmann appeal, "Mr. Federal Minister Polaschek, during your visits you have seen the performance of our institutions in teaching, research, innovation and start-ups, the relevance of our degree programs to the job market and our indispensability in the crucial areas of health, care and social issues. We urgently need funding security through immediate, 20 percent adjustment of the funding rates and subsequent regular valorization!"

Further inquiries:

Andreas Altmann, andreas.altmann@mci.edu, +43 664 311 8736

Thomas Madritsch, Thomas.Madritsch@fh-kufstein.ac.at

Walter Draxl, walter.draxl@fhg-tirol.ac.at

 

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