Students of RWTH Aachen University do not pay tuition fees – nevertheless, you have to pay a semester contribution every semester for re-registration. This amounts to € 300.19 for the winter semester 2021/2022. In this article we would like to explain to you how this contribution comes about, who decides about it and what happens with your money.

What does the semester contribution consist of?

The semester contribution consists of the mobility contribution (195,35 €), the social contribution (93,00 €) and the student body contribution (11,84 €). The mobility contribution is used to pay for the semester ticket, the social contribution partly finances the work of the Studierendenwerk and the student body contribution is used to finance the work of the AStA, the student councils (Fachschaften), the university radio and the Queerreferat. It also supports student sports and student childcare.

The mobility contribution

The term “mobility contribution” is actually just a bureaucratic word for the price of the semester ticket. This is €195.35 for the winter semester 2021/2022. Of this, €132.59 is for the AVV ticket, €57.40 for the NRW part of the ticket, and €5.00 for the extension to South Limburg. In addition, the mobility hardship fund is supported with 0.36 €. This fund is used to finance refunds in cases of social hardship. You can find more information here.

Every 3 years, this contribution is negotiated jointly by the student bodies in Aachen and ASEAG. The chairperson of the AStA, the finance officer and the chairperson of the mobility committee negotiate on behalf of the RWTH students.

The social contribution

The social contribution supports the work of the Studierendenwerk. This amounts to 93,00 € in the winter semester 2021/2022.

The social contribution is primarily used to keep the prices for the gastronomic offer (the refectories) as low as possible. The amount is set by the administrative board of the Studierendenwerk, 4 of the 9 seats there are occupied by students. Three students come from the RWTH and one from the FH. Our three representatives are elected by the student parliament.

The student body contribution

The smallest part of the semester contribution is the student body contribution. In the winter semester 2021/2022 this amounts to 11,84 €. Of this, 6.75 € goes directly to the AStA. This money is used, for example, to finance the bicycle repair shop, counseling services (including those offered by lawyers), cultural and political education events, short-term social loans, and student elections. Also the administrative costs of the AStA and allowances for project leaders, who are particularly committed to the student body, come from this pot.

The second highest part of the student body contribution is the child care with 1,50 €. This money is used to finance low-cost daycare places that are available to students with children. With 1,10 € the sports department is financed, which supports sports groups financially and represents them towards the university. Currently, 80 cents goes to the student aid fund. Long-term social loans are financed from this fund. The university radio receives 50 cents for its work and the Queerreferat 19 cents. Last but not least, your student councils (Fachschaft) receive one euro for their work.

The contributions are set and controlled by the student parliament and its committees.

What are the possibilities to get the contribution refunded? 

There are different possibilities to get a partial refund of the semester contribution:

The mobility fee can be partially refunded in the following cases:

  • Disability or chronic illness
  • Early exmatriculation
  • Late enrollment
  • Leave of absence
  • Study-related stay outside the area of validity
  • Social hardship

If the mobility fee is refunded, it is not possible to use the semester ticket. You can find more information here.

The social contribution for the Studierendenwerk cannot be refunded. An exemption is granted in case of a leave of absence for the following reasons:

  • Completion of basic military service or civilian alternative service
  • Study abroad
  • illness, pregnancy or raising a child
  • care of a spouse, registered partner or a relative in a direct line (parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren).

Unfortunately, there is no refund in cases of social hardship.

The student body contribution is only refunded in cases of social hardship. More information can be found here

How has the semester contribution developed?

You have probably noticed that the semester contribution has risen steadily over the past few years. You can see the growth in graph 1. There are several reasons for the increase:

1. the costs for the semester ticket increase every year. You can see the exact development in chart 2. The price increase is analogous to the price development of a normal ASEAG/DB/NRW Jahres Ticket.

2. there was a gradual increase of the social contribution. This lasted 5 years and is finished with the increase for the winter semester 2020/2021. The reason for the increase was the increased operating costs of the gastronomic offer, through this the prices in the canteen can remain constant. The exact development of the social contribution is shown in chart 3. A new increase is not expected for the time being.

3. the student body contribution varies from semester to semester. The exact contribution depends heavily on how the budget planning for the budget year looks, which means that the contribution can sometimes fluctuate by a few 10-cents. This semester, for example, there was more demand for long-term social loans, so the contribution to the Student Assistance Fund increased. Overall, there has also been a slight increase in the student body contribution. You can find the development of the student body contribution in chart 4.