Private university

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A private university is a private higher education institution with university rank.


The term university is protected in most German states and is reserved exclusively for universities with a comprehensive range of subjects. Only universities is allowed as well, the doctor - or professors to give -Würde ( " Promotion Law "). The title of university is accordingly awarded by the responsible state ministry and is based on strict accreditation guidelines, which mostly only state universities meet. However, there are also some private universities in Germany that bear the title of university . These include the Leipzig Graduate School of Management , the EBS University for Economics and Law , the Witten / Herdecke University , the WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management , the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in Frankfurt am Main, the German University for Further Education in Berlin, the Jacobs University Bremen and the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen. Most other private educational institutions, however (despite the frequently encountered but misleading English name university ) officially only bear the title of technical college , art and music college or private university .

An evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office for the 2013 reporting year shows that around 19,000 students are enrolled at the 23 private universities in Germany , around 70% of whom are studying economics, law and social sciences. The expenditures of the private universities in 2013 amounted to 362 million euros. Current expenses (excluding investments) per student at private universities were around 18,000 euros in 2013. The contributions made by students (including tuition fees ) at private universities averaged around 8,000 euros per student. Third-party funding of around 130,000 euros was raised for each professor at a private university . Of the third-party funds raised, 14% come from the German Research Foundation .

A list of the state-recognized private universities in Germany, including private universities and privately owned universities of equal standing, can be found in the article List of private universities in Germany . A list of church universities in Germany, including church universities, can be found in the article Church University .

In 2004 the Association of Private Universities (VPH) was founded. It represents the interests of private universities in Germany and, in accordance with its statutes, advocates a pluralistic university system for the benefit of students and society.



Since 2001 it has also been possible to accredit private universities in Austria . The accreditation is carried out by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria , until February 29, 2012 the Austrian Accreditation Council was responsible. Up to and including 2010, there were 120 project operators, of which 47 applied for accreditation and 16 were accredited. Four private universities have lost or waived their accreditation.

On March 1, 2012, the University Accreditation Act was replaced by two new laws, the Higher Education Quality Assurance Act (HS-QSG) and the Federal Act on Private Universities (PUG). The new laws bring some innovations for the private universities: For example, in the future it will be possible for private universities to award honorary academic degrees, and they may apply for competitively awarded state research grants from which they have so far (in contrast, for example, to private companies ) were excluded.

Until the end of August 2012, the Austrian Accreditation Council remained responsible for procedures that were initiated before March 1, 2012. Then the new Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria took over its tasks, which is responsible for quality assurance in all three higher education sectors (private universities, state universities and technical colleges).

The accreditation is valid for five years, in the case of accreditations from 2012 for six years; after two accreditation periods, the third accreditation can be granted for twelve years.

Currently (December 2018) 13 institutions are accredited as private universities.

Requirements for accreditation

The responsible agency checks that the legal requirements for private university status are met:

  • Sufficiently scientifically or artistically qualified permanent staff (professors and doctoral researchers)
  • Research (institutionalized knowledge production with feedback to teaching)
  • Transparent and quality-guided personnel selection process
  • Study plans and examination regulations according to international standards
  • Adequate room and equipment
  • Sufficient breadth and diversity of the courses offered, which must be based on the European concept of university
  • Securing medium-term financing
  • Presence of a development plan

Effects of accreditation

Since in the past it was also possible for non- university private providers in Austria to award academic degrees (so-called " courses of a university character ") - this option will be abolished at the end of 2012 - the accreditation as a private university is an important qualitative differentiator Legal requirement for the educational institution to be allowed to designate itself as a private university for the duration of the accreditation and to be able to appoint university professors. The academic degrees awarded by private universities may be used like degrees at public universities and, according to the law, have the same legal effects as such degrees. Restrictions apply to degrees awarded on the basis of university courses. The lecturers and students are on an equal footing with the lecturers and students of state universities with regard to the law on foreigners and the employment law for foreigners. The same rules apply to students from private universities as to students at state universities for student grants, family allowances and social security. Donations to private universities are treated like donations to state universities for tax purposes. Another advantage is the spurious sales tax exemption, i. H. a private university does not have to charge sales tax for tuition fees, unlike non-accredited educational institutions.

seal of quality

Accredited private universities are allowed to use the quality seal of the Accreditation Council. This is intended to make it easier for students and employers to assess the offers and to help private universities position themselves better.

Debate about academic honorary degrees

Since the original law (UniAkkG) had forgotten to regulate the award of academic honorary degrees by private universities, there was a public debate about it, which also preoccupied the courts. The Austrian Accreditation Council (ÖAR) took the view that, according to Austrian and international practice, only those degrees can be awarded on an honorary basis that are also awarded in the standard course of study at the private university. In this view, z. B. the award of a "Dr. hc ”is permitted by a private university if it has the right to award doctorates . At least three private universities - the Catholic-Theological University Linz, which has the right to award doctorates, and the Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, and the IMADEC University, which is not entitled to award doctorates - award honorary doctorates and other honorary degrees. After the ÖAR complained in writing several times, administrative criminal proceedings were initiated against the managing director of IMADEC University , which were fought up to the administrative court and ended with a confirmation of the conviction.

The judgment also made it clear that private universities - regardless of any right to award doctorates - were not allowed to award any honorary degrees under the then applicable legal situation (UniAkkG). Legal scholars viewed this as constitutionally questionable, as state educational institutions are entitled to such a right even if they do not have the right to award doctorates ( Pedagogical Academies , Danube University Krems ). Fighting it before the Constitutional Court was viewed as difficult because this situation was not caused by a law, but by inaction by the legislature. The ÖAR advocated a change in the law in the interests of private universities and called for the UniAkkG to be supplemented to the effect that it should explicitly include the award of honorary degrees. With the entry into force of the new University Quality Assurance Act on March 1, 2012, this legal weakness was eliminated. Private universities with the right to award doctorates are now allowed to award honorary doctorates. Private universities can now also use other honorary titles that are customary in the university system, such as B. "Honorary Senator" or "Honorary Citizen" awarded.

List of private universities accredited in Austria

The ownership structure of Austrian private universities is heterogeneous. Some are 100% privately owned, others are partially financed by public bodies (e.g. federal states or religious communities). According to the law, only financing by the Republic of Austria is excluded.

The following private universities are currently accredited:

No longer accredited:

The Krems University for Continuing Education is mistakenly counted by the media in the category of private universities. This institution, supported by the state of Lower Austria jointly with the federal government, was elevated to a university by a separate federal law.

Range of courses at private universities

In 2010, 159 courses were offered at private universities. Of these, 67 (42%) were in artistic, 30 (19%) in social and economic science, 28 (18%) in medical and health science and 18 (11%) in humanities and cultural studies programs. There were also seven information science, seven theological and two technical studies. A total of 6301 people studied at private universities.

Austrian Private University Conference

The interests of the private universities are represented by the Austrian Conference of Private Universities (ÖPUK).



In Switzerland, the federal law on the promotion of universities and coordination in the Swiss higher education sector (HFKG for short ) subsumes the cantonal universities and the federal technical universities (ETH) under the title of universities . Private universities can be accredited as a university or university institute (Art. 2 Para. 4 HEdA). Only those who are legally accredited may use the designation "University" (Art. 62 HEdA). If an institution uses the designation "university" or a designation derived from it such as "university institute" etc. without authorization (i.e. without accreditation), those responsible will be penalized with a fine of up to CHF 200,000.00 in the event of intent or up to CHF 100 ' 000.00 punished for negligence ( Art. 63 HEdA).

List of recognized private universities in Switzerland

In addition to the state universities mentioned above, according to Swissuniversities, the following private institutions are classified as universities or recognized university institutes:

  1. as a university institute according to the HEdA:
    1. the Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, Genève, IHEID , (University Institute for International Studies and Development)
    2. the university distance learning foundation ,
  2. as private universities with university rank accredited by the Swiss University Conference:
    1. the Facoltà di Teologia di Lugano (Theological Faculty Lugano)
    2. the Franklin University Switzerland
    3. the state-independent Theological University of Basel
    4. the Chur Theological University

In the past - before the relevant provisions came into force - several (sometimes dodgy) institutions used the self-designation as university without being entitled to do so.

A constantly updated list of officially recognized universities in Switzerland can be found on the homepage of swᴉssunᴉversᴉtᴉes, the rectors' conference of all Swiss university rectors.



Due to the geographic location of the country, many students attending higher education institutions in Luxembourg come from the Greater Region (Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Lorraine, Province of Luxembourg in Belgium). Proof that the degrees obtained were obtained in an accredited program is particularly important for these students because well-known German, French and Belgian universities only admit candidates for postgraduate courses (master’s, doctorate) who have an officially state-recognized and have an accredited degree of the first cycle (Bachelor).

In addition, cross-border commuters from Germany in particular often want to improve their study biography in order to have better chances in the competition for career entry and promotion opportunities at institutions of the European Union but also at banks and other internationally operating companies. As a rule, these employers require proof of competence from an accredited university study program.

University types

There are three types of universities in Luxembourg

  • State and private universities under Luxembourg law based in Luxembourg,
    including the University of Luxembourg , the eufom University (European University for Economics & Management) and the DTMD University for Digital Technologies in Medicine and Dentistry. The establishment and operation of university educational institutions is regulated by the law of June 19, 2009 and the law of August 24, 2016.
  • State and private universities under foreign law with headquarters abroad and operating facilities (= university operations) in Luxembourg,
    an example is the SHU, the Sacred Heart University.
  • Foreign universities without a university of their own in Luxembourg that offer training measures together with Luxembourg cooperation partners, usually chambers,
    are essentially Belgian and French universities and business schools.


The accreditation of private and foreign universities in Luxembourg is regulated by the Ministerial Decree of April 27, 2011.

A distinction is made between institutional (state) recognition and (program) accreditation. The latter is particularly important for students. A commission appointed by the Ministry of Education and made up of recognized foreign experts decides on the accreditation.

Accredited university courses

The Bachelor's and Master's programs offered in Luxembourg by the University of Luxembourg and eufom University are state-recognized and accredited. According to the founding law of the university, the programs of the University of Luxembourg are automatically accredited and do not have to go through an independent accreditation process. In 2019, however, had several master's programs from different faculties accredited by FIBAA on a voluntary basis.

The part-time postgraduate master’s programs at DTMD University for Digital Technologies in Medicine and Dentistry Luxembourg are state-recognized. The Luxembourg university law does not provide for accreditation for postgraduate courses according to the Bruges / Copenhagen process of the EU Commission.


In federally organized Belgium, the legislative power over colleges and universities lies in the hands of the communities. Universities in Belgium are recognized by the Flemish, French or German-speaking communities. Most universities are French or Dutch-speaking and are freely affiliated (Catholic) or non-denominational. Only the University of Liège (Université de Liège) with its locations in Liège and Gembloux is a state university.


Legal framework

In France, only state universities are allowed to use the designation “université” (university). The so-called “facs catho” (Catholic faculties) do not fall under this general rule. There are 6 Catholic universities:

  • Fédération universitaire et polytechnique de Lille,
  • Institut catholique de Paris,
  • Institut catholique de Toulouse,
  • Institut catholique d'études supérieures,
  • Facultés libres de l'Ouest,
  • Université catholique de Lyon.

They can call themselves private universities.

University types

In France, private universities distinguish between general universities and engineering schools, business schools and management academies.

There are currently 13 private general universities with nearly 30,000 students in France. They are not allowed to award officially recognized degrees, but can work with public institutions to ensure that their students receive a government-recognized degree. In addition to the general universities, there are around 60 engineering schools, business schools and management academies with a total of around 50,000 students. As a rule, they are state-recognized and their degrees are accredited. Some engineering schools have a long history and a good reputation. Several of these organizations have research laboratories certified by the CNRS (Center national de la recherche scientifique).

State recognition

State recognition of private universities relates to the institution itself, not its programs and degrees. Therefore, these universities cannot grant officially recognized bachelor, master or doctoral degrees on their own initiative. However, they are allowed to issue state-recognized diplomas in cooperation with a French state university or with a foreign university that has an internationally recognized program accreditation.

In contrast, according to a ministerial decree of March 8, 2001, state-approved business and management schools can award officially recognized Bachelor and Master degrees if they are certified by the CEFDG (Commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion).

Private engineering schools also have the right to award official master’s degrees, if authorized by the CTI (Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur). Since 1934, CTI has been able to approve and certify engineering training courses and officially recognize their degrees.

Great Britain

In the United Kingdom , the distinction between private and public universities is less clear than in many other countries, as all universities have their own legal personality and self-government. The university is responsible for the university itself, which also has its own decision-making bodies, and university employees are not civil servants. This also applies to universities that were founded on government initiative. In principle, the universities are also free to set tuition fees, but those universities that receive funds from government-financed funds (HEFCE for England , SFC for Scotland , HEFCW for Wales ) are subject to the maximum limits set by these bodies. A "state" university in the continental European sense is therefore most likely a university that receives such funds. In principle, the universities are free to part with this state funding mechanism and thus to levy any amount of tuition fees; Most universities do not make use of this, however, but are financed through a mixture of tuition fees, state funds and grants from private individuals. Only four universities in the UK have made use of the option to decline government funding.

Web links

Commons : Private universities and colleges  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Private university  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Private universities in Germany, Buschle Nicole and Haider Carsten in WISTA edition 1/2016, pages 81 to 84
  2. Austrian Accreditation Council: Facts and Figures 2010 (PDF; 572 kB)
  3. According to the notification to the private university conference, PEF withdrew its accreditation on October 24, 2012.
  4. Federal Ministry of Science and Research: University Laws ( Memento of the original of August 20, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Austrian Accreditation Council: Seal of Quality ( Memento of October 17, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Annual report of the Austrian Accreditation Council 2003 ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (Chapter 10 "Supervision", last paragraph)
  7. Private universities do not have the right to award honorary doctorates. Austrian Administrative Court, April 28, 2006, accessed on July 2, 2007 .
  8. Bettina Perthold-Stoitzner, Karl Stöger: On the admissibility of awarding academic honors by private universities and other post-secondary educational institutions. In: Journal for University Law, University Management and University Policy: zfhr. 6, 2007, pp. 26-30, doi : 10.1007 / s00741-007-0116-9 .
  9. Proposals for the amendment of the University Accreditation Act. (PDF; 41 kB) Austrian Accreditation Council, archived from the original on July 29, 2007 ; Retrieved June 27, 2007 .
  10. ^ AQ Austria - Accreditation of Karl Landsteiner Private University , accessed on December 9, 2013.
  11. Austrian Accreditation Council: Withdrawal of IU Vienna accreditation ( Memento of August 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  12. Austrian Accreditation Council: Imadec-Info ( Memento of February 6, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  13. ^ Announcement of the Austrian Accreditation Council regarding the expiry of the accreditation of the TCM Private University Li Shi Zhen ( memento from August 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  14. AQ Austria: PEF Private University has stopped studying.
  15. ^ AQ Austria - Revocation of the accreditation of the European Peace University , accessed on December 9, 2013.
  16. ^ Austrian Accreditation Council: Newsletter April 2011 ( Memento from May 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 264 kB)
  17. Federal Act on the Promotion of Universities and Coordination in the Swiss Higher Education Sector (HEdA). Retrieved May 20, 2017 .
  18. swissuniversities: Recognized Swiss universities. Retrieved May 20, 2017 .
  19. Law of June 19, 2009 on the establishment and operation of universities in Luxembourg (Loi du 19 juin 2009 portant organization de l'enseignement supérieur, fixant les modalités d'implantation de formations d'enseignement supérieur ou de création de filiales) ( Memento of the original from May 31, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. Règlement grand-ducal du 24 août 2016 portant sur l'accréditation d'institutions et de programs d'enseignement supérieur étrangers au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
  22. ^ Ministerial decree on the accreditation of private and foreign universities (Règlement ministériel du 27 avril 2011 portant sur l'accréditation d'établissements d'enseignement supérieur étrangers ou privés au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg) ( Memento des Originals of May 31, 2014 on the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. ^ Official homepage of the University of Luxembourg
  24. ^ Official homepage of eufom University
  25. Official homepage of the DTMD University Luxembourg
  26. Décret de la Communauté française du 28 November 2008 portant intégration de la Faculté universitaire des sciences agronomiques de Gembloux au sein de l'Université de Liège, création de l'Université de Mons par fusion de l'Université de Mons-Hainaut et de la Faculté polytechnique de Mons, restructurant des habilitations universitaires et refinançant les Universités; available on the website of the FPS Justice.
  27. CNRS homepage (French / English)
  28. Arrêté du 8 mars 2001 relatif aux diplômes délivrés par les établissements d'enseignement supérieur technique privés et consulaires reconnus par l'Etat
  29. Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur