This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Highly qualified Austrian students and professionals actively participate in study abroad programs ranging from short courses to full semester programs.  Austrian professionals attend training programs in the United States at the individual and corporate levels.  In total, almost 1,150 Austrians studied in the United States in 2018, up over 3% from 2017 according to the International Educational Exchange Open Door Report. The United States is the 3rd most popular study abroad destination for Austrian students, following the U.K. and Switzerland per UNESCO reporting. Austrian students tend to be academically well-prepared and have excellent English skills. They are interested in a broad range of academic fields in the United States, including STEM (especially at the graduate level), liberal arts programs (which are not offered at local universities), and professional degrees.  Leading U.S. study destinations for Austrian students are New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois and Florida. EU scholarships encourage study abroad which are normally channeled through university-to-university exchange programs.

Austrian Students Studying in the U.S.1,1111,148

Source: 2018 IIE Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange

International study experiences complement Austria’s strong education system allowing students and professionals to further advance their English skills and gain expertise not offered in Austria.  Austria’s education system ranked 4th of 63 countries worldwide in the 2018 IMD (Institute for Management Development) World Talent Report. The goal of lifelong learning is highly integrated in the Austrian education system and society. This is partly due to the Austrian government’s strong investment in its education system, which is among the highest among OECD countries.  

In Austria, school attendance is mandatory for nine years and is divided into two parts. The first portion is a four-year primary school that begins at age 6. At age 10, children are divided into two tracks based on their performance and the preference of their parents. The vocational track takes 6 years, with a focus on real life circumstances and prepares students for an apprenticeship at age 16. Typical graduates will eventually have a profession such as retail sales associate, beautician, or plumber. The academic track is a full 8 years, comparable to a college preparatory school in the United States, where students prepare to attend university. While there is some movement between the two tracks, that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. By far the largest portion of the Austrian population, around 38%, lists their highest educational achievement to be an apprenticeship. Just under 18% have completed a university degree. The remainder have either an academic (16.5%) or a vocational (14.6%) certificate, and 13.1% completed the minimum required 9 school years without advanced education nor without completing an apprenticeship. This distribution is changing, with a strong trend toward academic achievement. Austrians over 55, for example, are far less likely to have a university degree (13%) than those under 35 (23%).

Austria has over 2,000 high schools with around 610,000 students. The 70 universities in Austria are majority public with 12 private universities. Public universities offer free tuition with students paying modest fees.  Specialized universities concentrate in the arts (6), medicine (3), applied sciences (22) and teacher education (14).  A total of 353,200 students current study in universities nationwide with 25% international students, a large pool of students that U.S. institutes could target for their programs. 

According to the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research, there are around 50 million euros available for scholarships and grant programs allowing students to finance their studies in Austria and internationally. With approval from a student’s home university, they may study abroad at their school’s international partner university. Therefore, close cooperation with Austrian universities is an important key to for U.S. universities to attract Austrian students.



  • Establishing cooperation with local universities is a very effective way to enter the Austrian market. Exchange programs, which are usually a semester long, are highly attractive to Austrian students. U.S. universities need to know that once an exchange program has been established, they are also expected to send a similar number of American students to Austrian universities.
  • Intensive English Language Programs/Short-term Exchanges are very popular as the value of English in the world of business continues to grow. Short, non-degree programs are proving to be successful as well, not only for university students but also for working professionals, who seek to further develop their professional skills.
  • E-learning is a growing trend in Austria so a sound approach for attracting Austrian students, as well as full-time professionals, who desire to study further. The ability to earn college credits through online study and is also gaining popularity in Austria.

The U.S. government’s Education USA advising center is active in Austria providing student advising and promoting Study in USA.
The U.S. Commercial Service Austria can structure customized introductions and promotional programs for interested U.S. university and other education institutions to meet targeted Austrian universities, schools and private entities.  Unlike in some other countries, Austrian students do not work through private educational representatives to find international study opportunities.


Largest Student Fair in Austria

BeSt³ Student Fair
Vienna, Austria
March 5 – 8, 2020




CS Austria Contact

Robee Sallegue, Commercial Assistant
U.S. Commercial Service – Austria


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Austria Education Trade Development and Promotion