Students of RWTH Aachen University do not pay tuition fees – however, you have to pay a semester fee every semester for re-registration. This winter semester, the semester fee amounts to € 318.66. In this article we will explain how this 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 (206,93 €), the social contribution (98,00 €) and the student body contribution (13,73 €). The mobility contribution The term “mobility contribution” is actually just a bureaucratic word for the price of the semester ticket. This is 206,93 € in the winter semester. Of this, 142.24 € is for the AVV ticket, 59.40 € for the NRW part of the ticket and 5.29 € for the extension to South Limburg (Netherlands). Every 3 years, this contribution is negotiated jointly by the student bodies in Aachen with the transport companies. On behalf of the RWTH students, the AStA-AStA, the finance department and the chair of the mobility committee negotiate. The social contribution The social contribution supports the work of the Studierendenwerk. This amounts to € 98.00 in the winter semester 2023. The social contribution is primarily used to keep the prices for the gastronomic offer (the refectories) as low as possible. The amount is determined by the administrative board of the Studierendenwerk, 4 of the 9 places 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 13,73 €. Of this, € 6.85 goes to the AStA. This money is used, for example, to finance the bicycle repair shop, the counseling services (including the lawyers), cultural and political education events, short-term social loans and the 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 find it in the budget ( ) of the AStA. The second highest part of the student body fee is the amount for the student representatives (Fachschaften) with 2,00 €. Fachschaften are the student representatives in the departments of the RWTH and thus a part of the student self-administration. The student councils represent students vis-à-vis the faculties, organize the “Erstiwoche” and are usually the first point of contact for problems during studies. In total, our student body is divided into 18 student councils. With 1,50 € the contribution for childcare follows. This finances low-cost KiTa 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 € goes into the student aid fund. Long-term social loans are financed from this fund. The Queerreferat receives 53 cents and the university radio receives 50 cents. In addition, the mobility hardship fund is supported with 0.25 €. This fund is used to finance refunds of semester fees in cases of social hardship. You can find more information here. The fees are set and controlled by the student parliament and its committees. What are the reasons for refunding the semester fee? There are different reasons that entitle one to have part of the semester fee refunded: The mobility contribution may be partially reimbursed in the following cases:

  • Disability or chronic illness
  • Early de-registration
  • Late enrollment
  • Leave of absence
  • Study-related stay outside the area of validity of more than 4 months
  • Social hardship (in this case, the student body fee is also reimbursed; more information on this can be found here.)

With the exception of the refund in case of social hardship, it is not possible to use the semester ticket after the refund. You can find more information here. The social contribution for the Studierendenwerk can only be reimbursed in exceptional cases. An 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 raising a child
  • Care of spouse, registered partner(s) 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 Registrar’s office. You can download the form to be submitted there here.

How has the semester fee evolved? You have probably noticed that the semester fee has risen steadily in recent years. You can also see the growth in chart 1. There are several reasons for this increase:

  1. the costs for the semester ticket increase annually. The price increase is analogous to the price development of a normal ASEAG/DB/NRW annual ticket.
  2. there was a gradual increase in the social contribution. The reasons for the increase are increased operating costs of the catering service. Due to the adjustment of the contribution, the prices in the canteen can remain constant.
  3. the student body fee varies from semester to semester. The exact fee depends heavily on the budget planning for the financial year, which means that the fee can fluctuate by a few 10 cents.