German language media translated for TVR's Media Monitor
The public debate about university funding in Austria has been escalting since April 2012, when students occupied the Auditorium Maximum of the University of Vienna. The police had the facilities cleared within a few hours.
Growing Unrest at Universities, May 11
by Franziska Dzugan
With debt of €20 million, the spectre of bankruptcy is haunting Vienna’s Technical University. Teaching qualification degrees will have to be scrapped as a consequence. Among other institutions, the University of Vienna chalked up debts of €15 million, as well the Medical University of Vienna with €12 million. The University Klagenfurt and the Medical University in Innsbruck might also end up with a debt balance. The so-called Hochschulmilliarde [€1 billion for universities], promised by Minister Töchterle last year, won’t change much in that respect – Austria simply spends too little money on its universities. The expenditure of 1.3% of GDP is below the OECD-average of 1.5%. Compared with some of the highest-ranking institutions worldwide, even that won’t be enough: The U.S. invests double the amount (2.7%), as do Canada (2.5%) and South Korea (2.6%).
To the Alma Mater with Love: Shut it Down!, 4 May
Guest Commentary by Robert Menasse
Maybe we should simply close down all Austrian universities and provide all those who want to study with a €1,500 scholarship to study at universities abroad? The EU guarantees the freedom of choice of academic studies as well as residence in any member country. Whoever is matriculated as a student at the Sorbonne, the Humboldt University, the University of Leuven, or in fact anywhere else, would receive €1,500 every month. According to current student figures, that would cost only about 1% of GDP. Even if the number of students rises by 20%, the extra cost would not strain the budget as much as the current amounts burnt for the miserable state of Austria’s universities.