The Studentenwerk Frankfurt am Main, with its more than 400 employees and annual sales in double-digit millions, is a service provider for our approximately 80,000 students and an important partner of the universities in the Rhine-Main region.
We would like to offer our students the best inexpensive service. At the same time, however, we must pay attention to sufficient income, because only an economically sound Studentenwerk can be permanent. It is one of the most important tasks for our management and our board of directors to keep the balance between customer-friendly pricing and the necessary financial security.
Semester contribution - for what?
If students submit their so-called "semester contribution" as part of their enrolment or confirmation of studies, it also includes a contribution to the Studentenwerk Frankfurt am Main. The contribution levels vary according to the university.
This solidarity fee is similar to the principle of illness or unemployment insurance: it finances a wide range of offers, which are open to all students of our universities, but are independent of individual demands.
This means that our services, which support the university life, are not directly connected with one another. For example, counseling services are usually used by those who are concerned, not everybody goes to the cafeteria on a daily basis or lives in a residential hall of the Studentenwerk etc.
However, semester contributions represent only a quarter of our income. The majority, which is more than half, is generated by ourselves, less than 20 percent are state subsidies. In addition, there are other services provided by the state of Hesse, which finance the establishment of canteens and cafes, offer free heritable building sites for resident hall construction, or provide low-interest construction loans.
The so-called "indirect" support of the students by the state of Hesse promotes equality of opportunity. Unfortunately, it has stagnated for years and is not adapted to the increasing number of students. Stagnating state subsidies have to be absorbed by rising semester contributions from the students or price increases if our services are to be maintained or expanded.