Soros-Founded University Compelled to Move From Budapest to Vienna

Soros-Founded University Compelled to Move From Budapest to Vienna
George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, arrives for a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on April 27, 2017. (Olivier Hoslet/AFP/Getty Images)
Ella Kietlinska

The Central European University (CEU) founded by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros has left its campus in Budapest and opened one in Vienna.

CEU moved the bulk of its U.S.-accredited courses out of Hungary after the country passed a law in 2017 that banned foreign-registered universities that do not also offer the courses in the home country.

The legislation was perceived by some “as something that would finally put a stop to fake foreign universities awarding fake degrees,” according to Hungary Today, while others believed the legislation targeted “CEU’s ‘special’ status within the Hungarian educational system.”
The university has also long offered U.S.-accredited graduate degree programs and was the “highest ranked university based in Hungary,” according to Hungary Today. CEU also offered “free or cheap English-language graduate education in Budapest to thousands of students from eastern Europe and beyond,” according to EurActiv.
The CEU officially opened a new campus in Vienna on Nov. 15, where it will continue to offer U.S.-accredited graduate degree programs, though the university still maintains a presence in Budapest.

During a speech in Vienna, Soros said the university was “morally obligated” to keep a presence in Hungary and said his charitable foundation would commit approximately $830 million to the CEU.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.