Students of RWTH Aachen University do not pay tuition fees – nevertheless you have to pay a semester fee every semester for re-registration. This amounts to 303.24 € for the summer semester 2022. In this article we would like to explain to you how this fee comes about, who decides about it and what happens with your money.

How does the semester fee come about?

The semester fee consists of the mobility fee (201,40 €), the social contribution (93,00 €) and the student body contribution (8,84 €). The mobility fee pays for the semester ticket, the social contribution partly finances the work of the Studierendenwerk and the student body contribution finances the work of the AStA, the student councils, the university radio and the Queerreferat. It also supports student sports and student childcare.

The mobility fee

The term “mobility contribution” is actually just a bureaucratic word for the price of the semester ticket. This will be 201.40 € in the summer semester of 2022. Of this, 137.43 € is for the AVV ticket, 58.50 € for the NRW part of the ticket, and €5.11 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 summer semester 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 fee

The smallest part of the semester fee is the student body fee. In the summer semester 2022 this amounts to 8,84 €. Of this amount, 4.75 € goes directly to the AStA. This money is used, for example, to finance the bicycle repair shop, counseling services (including lawyers), cultural and political education events, short-term social loans, and student elections. The administrative costs of the AStA and allowances for project leaders 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 contribution is the child care with 1,50 €. This money is used to finance low-cost childcare 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, 30 cents goes to the student aid fund. Long-term social loans are financed from this fund. The university radio waives its contribution this semester and the Queerreferat gets 19 cents. Last but not least, your student councils will 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 have a part of the semester fee refunded: The mobility fee can be partially refunded in the following cases:

  • Disability or chronic illness
  • Early de-registration
  • 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).

Reimbursement in cases of social hardship is unfortunately not possible. The student body fee is only refunded in cases of social hardship. More information about this can be found here.

How has the semester fee developed?

You have probably noticed that the semester fee 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 annual ticket.

2. there was a gradual increase of the social contribution. This lasted 5 years and is completed 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 refectory 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, the contribution for the Student Assistance Fund was lowered again due to decreased demand. The development of the student body contribution can be found in chart 4.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand the semester fee a little better. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us.