started this petition to
During the year 2020, amidst a global pandemic that left and keeps on leaving its mark around the world the University of Applied Arts Vienna decided to enforce the decision made by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to introduce higher tuition fees for Non-EU/EEA students. These tuition fees range from €363,36 to €726,72, an amount that depends directly on whether a student belongs to the group of Lower Middle Income or Upper Middle Income Countries and Territories, categories made by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and directly affects about 15% of the student population just in die Angewandte, a higher education institution that –like many– presents itself as a place where diversity and equality happen hand in hand with integration, political engagement and critical thinking for the future. How is it possible then that the same institution allows the implementation of policies that judge people because of the place they were born? It is our hope that this petition as well as the many protests that our colleagues have started are a wake up call for our university and others to stand for the rights of their students and make equality, diversity and integration not just ideals but a reality.
Support your friends.
Support your colleagues.
Support the equal right to free education.
Universities are autonomous, which means that they can decide if, when, how and to what extent to enforce ministry policies, but policies like these jeopardize internationality and diversity, the same ideals on which the image of these institutions is built. To allow this to happen is to be complicit with a system that is based on injustice, a system that perpetuates inequality and discriminates Non-EU/EEA students when applying for work, state grants, stipends and other forms of support funds. A system that treats us differently because of the passport we are holding, and provides us with more challenges instead of opportunities.
As international students in a foreign land our colleagues had to overcome the cultural and language barriers and start a new life with little to zero support networks, and in the process they found ways to contribute to the landscape of art, culture and education. As students in general we benefit from the university, but we also contribute to its existence. Diversity is the promise of real and lasting change, a change that goes hand in hand with the specific background and own personal stories of struggle that made our colleagues who they are today. It is by sharing and learning each other's stories that we don’t just get to make new friends, colleagues, partners, etc., but enrich our own points of view and are able to nurture the critical thinking that is part of our educational experience.
These principles are being endangered, and the possibilities to enrich our culture is being taken away from us by these kinds of policies. If you would not allow this to happen to yourself then do not allow this to happen to other people. Change is possible and change matters, as one of our colleagues said: "Equality should not be a right that we are supposed to be fighting for, equality should be a reality". We, as students, have an opportunity here to dismantle institutional discrimination, for there would not be a university without students.
How to help:
We ask you to hold your payment of the tuition fees for as long as you can.
If you are part of the 15% of students whose situation in this country is being endangered by not paying the tuition fee we urge you to pay everything in time, wait as long as you can but be mindful of your own deadlines regarding your visa renewal or any other paperwork that is important for you to not lose your student status.
We ask the 85% of the student body to support our colleagues who are experiencing this dire situation. If you depend on a scholarship, grant, or other form of support then you are familiar with the struggles that not having enough money or not receiving a payment in time bring, signing the petition and raising awareness on the subject is an act of empathy towards your colleagues.
Spread the word. Signing a petition or writing a letter as it has been proven in the past, doesn’t significantly change anything and we can no longer put our hopes and trust in organisms that are failing us constantly. It is time to organize and challenge these institutions and power structures. It is time to act on the basis of fairness and equality.
Tell your colleagues
Tell your friends
Stand with us
Update: Since Wednesday the 23rd of September die Angewandte has found a solution for the Winter Semester 20/21 to ease the hardship of international students and while we appreciate the gesture that this temporary solution brings, we need a long-term change by the ministry to guarantee that Universities can live up to their promised diversity and internationality.
We urge the universities to stand for the rights of their students, to stand with their students. We urge the ministry to stop holding on to a system based on discrimination and abolish the double tuition fees for Non-EU/EEA students!