With the revision of the Student Support Services Legislation of 1994, the form of the partial financing of the social services provided by the Student Support Services was converted by the state of NRW from shortfall funding to a fixed amount funding. In the mid-90s, the state’s subsidy quota for the Studierendenwerk Münster was 34%. Today it is only approximately 9%. This development was only possible because of the increase of productivity in the Student Support institutions and the change in the subsidy criteria.
Thus the Student Support institutions also receive a part of their subsidies today based on the turnover achieved per student and year. Moreover in 2006 the Student Support Services in NRW had to compensate ad hoc for a reduction in subsidies of more than 1 million Euros per Student Support institution. Nevertheless the Student Support Services are still dependent on a stable subsidy from the state that is as high as possible in order to maintain the quality of their services.
The development of the number of students is not only important for the range of what we offer in our canteens, bistros and the student accommodations but also for the economic planning of the Student Support Services. This is because the students also proportionally contribute financially to the services they make use of via the social contribution that they have to pay. At present – status as of November 2016 – the amount of the social contribution every student in Münster has to pay per semester is € 85.44.
Especially students who are in an economically weaker situation are notably dependent on taking advantage of the social services of the Student Support Services. The development of the social contribution – which can also be understood as a solidarity tax and which must be paid by all enrolled students – has shown a noticeable change since the mid-90s. It has become clear that the students – not only in Münster – have to contribute more and more to the financing of these services.
In spite of immense efforts by the Student Support Services since 1994, which include having diversified and increased the quality of the services offered, as well as having raised productivity, the students and the Student Support Services continue to be dependent on stable subsidies, but also increasingly on investments from the state of NRW. Today the share of what the students have to contribute to finance the services of the Student Support institution is considerably higher than what the subsidy of the state contributes to the total income of the Student Support Services.
Thanks to BAföG (i.e. the Federal Education and Training Assistance Act) 4 million people have been able to study since 1971 (DSW - German Student Support Services statistics), but in 2016 the educational opportunities in Germany are still not equally available to all. Thus 77 out of 100 children whose parents attended university begin to study every year. However, today only 23 out of 100 children from working class families attend a university. For the winter semester 2016/2017, the adopted revision of the BAföG, with the 7 per cent increases of the entitlements and allowances, which lead to an almost 10% higher maximum rate, has come into effect for the first time. Students who barely missed the opportunity to receive BAföG can now expect to get a little more than € 100. There are other improvements – especially concerning the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s studies.