Students at RWTH Aachen University do not pay tuition fees – however, you must pay a semester fee each semester for re-registration. This amounts to €304.47 this winter semester. In this article, we want to explain how this is calculated, who decides and what happens to your money. How is the semester fee calculated?
The semester fee is made up of the mobility contribution (€183.64), the social contribution (€108.00) and the student body contribution (€12.83).

The mobility contribution
The term “mobility fee” is actually just a bureaucratic term for the price of the semester ticket. This amounts to €183.64 in the winter semester. Of this, €176.40 is for the Germany ticket and €7.24 for the extension to South Limburg (Netherlands), whose catchment area has been expanded (+€1.33). The development of this contribution is now linked to the LTI (National Tariff Index in the Netherlands), which means an increase of 11.72% this year. You can find information on the catchment area in the Netherlands here.

The price of the Germany ticket of €29.40 per month is linked to 60% of the price of the €49 ticket. The price for the extension in the Netherlands is negotiated on behalf of the RWTH students by the AStA, the Finance Department and the Chair of the Mobility Committee.

The social contribution
The social contribution supports the work of the Studierendenwerk (StW). This amounts to € 108.00.

The social contribution is primarily used to keep the prices for the catering services (the canteens) as low as possible. The amount is determined by the Studierendenwerk’s administrative board, 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 every two years by the student parliament.

The student body contribution
The student body fee makes up the smallest part of the semester fee. In the winter semester, this amounts to €12.83. Of this, € 6.90 goes to the AStA. This money is used, for example, to finance the bicycle repair shop, counselling services (including lawyers), cultural and political education events, short-term social loans and student elections. The administrative costs of the AStA and expense allowances for project managers who are particularly committed to the student body also come from this pot. If you want to know exactly how much money goes where, you can read about it in the AStA budget (

The second highest part of the student body fee is the amount for the student councils at €2.04. Student councils are the student representatives in the faculties of the RWTH and are therefore part of student self-administration. The student councils represent students vis-à-vis the faculties, organise Freshers’ Week and are usually the first point of contact for problems during studies. Our student body is divided into a total of 18 student councils.

This is followed by the childcare contribution of €1.50. This is used to finance affordable childcare places that are available to students with children. 1.10 is used to finance the sports department, which provides financial support to sports groups and represents them to the university. Currently, 1 cent goes to the student aid fund. This fund is used for long-term social loans for students in financial difficulties. The Queerreferat receives 53 cents and the university radio station receives 50 cents. The semester fee hardship fund is also supported with 25 cents. This is used to finance refunds of the semester fee in cases of social hardship. You can find out more here. The fees are set and monitored by the student parliament and its committees.

Overview of changes compared to summer semester 2024
What are the reasons for a refund of the semester fee?
There are various reasons that entitle you to a partial refund of the semester fee: The mobility fee can be (partially) refunded in the following cases:

  • Disability or chronic illness
  • Early de-registration
  • Late enrolment
  • Leave of absence
  • Possession of a Deutschlandticket from another university/university of applied sciences
  • Study-related stay outside the area of validity of more than 4 months
  • Social hardship (in this case, the student union fee is also reimbursed; more information can be found here.)

With the exception of reimbursement in cases of social hardship, it is not possible to use the semester ticket after reimbursement. You can find more information here. The social contribution for the Studierendenwerk can only be refunded in exceptional cases. Exemption is granted in the case of a leave of absence for the following reasons:

  • Completion of basic military service or alternative civilian service
  • Study abroad
  • Illness, pregnancy or bringing up a child
  • Caring for a spouse, registered partner or a relative in a direct line (parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren)

The application for reimbursement of the social contribution is submitted to the RWTH Student Secretariat. You can download the form to be submitted there here.

How has the semester fee developed?
You have probably noticed that the semester contribution has often risen in recent years. You can also see the growth in the graph. There are several reasons for the increase in fees:

  1. The cost of the semester ticket increases regularly. The price reduction is due to the switch to the Deutschlandticket.
  2. There has been a gradual increase in the social contribution. The amount of the contribution is mainly due to the fact that over the last 30 years, the state of NRW has reduced its subsidy share of the contribution and therefore more and more costs of the Studierendenwerk had to be covered by the student body.
  3. The student body contribution varies from semester to semester. The exact contribution depends heavily on the budget planning for the financial year, which means that the contribution can fluctuate by a few tens of cent.