Students of RWTH Aachen University do not pay tuition fees – nevertheless you have to pay a semester fee every semester for re-registration. This winter semester the fee is 310,15 € for all students who did not attend the university last semester and 239,19 € for almost all others. In this article we want to explain how the semester fee is calculated, 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 (201,05 €), the social contribution (98,00 €) and the student body contribution (11,10 €). However, because of the 9€ ticket, the semester fee is reduced by 70,96€ for people who paid the mobility fee last semester. 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 fee” is actually just a bureaucratic word for the price of the semester ticket. This is €201.40 for the winter semester. 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 0.01 €. This fund is used to finance refunds in cases of social hardship. More about this can be found 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 98,00 € in the winter 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 winter semester this amounts to 11,10 €. Of this, € 6.80 goes 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 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 1 cent 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 receives 19 cents. Last but not least, your student councils receive one euro for their work.
The fees are set and controlled by the student parliament and its committees.
Reduction because of the 9€ ticket
As already mentioned at the end of May, we also benefit from the 9€ ticket: Our semester ticket costs only 9€ per month during the campaign period (June, July and August). Since the semester ticket is paid with the semester fee at the beginning of the semester, however, we students have paid “too much” in the last semester. Therefore, there is now a refund of 70,96€ to all students.
What options are there to have the fee refunded?
There are different possibilities to get 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 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 can only be refunded in exceptional cases. 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, a refund due to social hardship will not be made.
The student body fee is only refunded in cases of social hardship. More information 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. This semester the contribution was increased once again by 5 € because of the price increase due to the Russian attack on Ukraine.
3. the student body contribution varies from semester to semester. The exact fee depends strongly on the budget planning for the budget year, which means that the fee can 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 this article has helped you understand the semester fee a little better. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us.