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You are here on the website of Studierendenwerk Hamburg. On this page you will find information in plain language about us and our work. 

What is a Studierendenwerk?
A Studierendenwerk is a large company. People work in the Studierendenwerk. These people help students during their studies. Students are people who learn a lot at a university. The people in the Studierendenwerk support students so that they are well looked after. For example, students get a cheap flat. Or cheap food. Or money. There are student unions all over Germany. They are located wherever there are universities. 
The Studierendenwerk Hamburg is responsible for students at 7 universities in Hamburg. A university can be an institution of higher education. The abbreviation for this is Uni. 
The Studierendenwerk Hamburg employs 565 people. Studierendenwerk Hamburg looks after around 73 thousand students in Hamburg. These students study at different universities. These universities are: 
- University of Hamburg
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
- HafenCity University Hamburg
- Hamburg University of Technology 
- Hamburg University of Fine Arts
- Bucerius Law School
- Hamburg University of Music and Theatre 

There is a law that regulates the tasks of the Studierendenwerk. This is the Studierendenwerk Act. The Studierendenwerk Hamburg is a non-profit organisation. Non-profit means that people help other people. The Studierendenwerk receives money from the Hanseatic City of Hamburg for this. The Studierendenwerk Hamburg also finances its work from the sale of food and drink, rental income, contributions from parents for childcare and contributions from students.

What is a university?
After school, you can learn even more at a university. This is called study. A university school is like a school for adults. The teachers of the students are called professors. Or they are lecturers. 
To study, you usually need a school-leaving certificate. Abitur is a school-leaving qualification. The Abitur is the highest school-leaving qualification in Germany. You can choose for yourself which subject (subject area) you want to study. By studying, you can get a degree. The degrees are called Bachelor's or Master's degrees. With a Bachelor's or Master's degree, you can work in certain professions.


The Studierendenwerk Hamburg helps students with many tasks:

1/ Students need money to live. 
Many students have little money. The Studierendenwerk tells students how to get money from the state. The money from the state is called BAföG. BAföG is the abbreviation for Bundes-Ausbildungs-Förderungs-Gesetz (Federal Training Assistance Act). This is financial help from the Office for Education and Training Assistance. If parents cannot pay for their child's studies, these students can apply for BAföG money. The BAföG money consists of 2 parts. The students receive one part as a grant.
The other part is lent to the students. This means that the students have to pay back half of the money after they have finished their studies. BAföG is paid out monthly for a certain number of months. Once this period has expired, you have to submit a new BAföG application.
We check the BAföG applications of students who are studying at a Hamburg university. 
The BAföG application is difficult to understand for many. Help is available from the Studierendenwerk. For example, on the BAföG website: STW Hamburg (stwhh.de). The staff in the Student Financing Department are also happy to help. They also advise students on how they can finance their studies in other ways and receive money.
Note on the BeSt?

2/ Students also need to eat and drink something. 
The Studierendenwerk has 12 refectories,22 cafés/café shops, 2 pizzerias and one. These are places where students can buy food and drinks and meet other students. The food is cheap and there are many different offers. People who work at the universities and other guests can also eat in the canteen. They then have to pay a little more. Students sometimes have to show their student ID at the checkout. They get this card at their university. With this card, they get a low student price in the refectory.
There are different types of food. For example: 
- for people who like meat and
- for people who do not eat meat.
Some people can't or don't want to eat everything. That is why the food is marked with signs and small drawings. They indicate which ingredients are in the food. So you can decide whether you want to eat the dish or not.
In the canteen you can pay with cash. Or with your bank card. Or with your smartphone. Children up to 12 years of age of students can eat for free in the Mensa. Student parents need a card for their children to eat for free. This card is called the Youngster Card. You can get the Youngster Card at the Mensa. 

3/ Students need a place to live. 
The Studierendenwerk Hamburg rents out rooms or one-room flats in housing complexes to students and trainees. Housing complexes are houses with many rooms and flats. The rooms and flats have a low rent. Students from all over the world live in the halls of residence. The Studierendenwerk Hamburg has more than 4,400 places in 26 halls of residence in Hamburg.
If you would like a place in a hall of residence, you must fill out an application for admission. You can fill out the application online or on a paper printout.  You can apply for a maximum of three specific residences or for all 26 residences. There are almost always more applications than places. Therefore, you often have to wait for a room. 
The rents are warm rents. This means that there are no extra costs. The costs for internet, water, electricity, heating and rubbish are included in the rent. In the rooms there is a bed, a wardrobe and a desk. There are rooms in each apartment complex that all residents are allowed to use. In these rooms you can watch TV, play games or meet together.
There are rules in the housing complexes. These rules are called house rules. Everyone must abide by these house rules. The rules are meant to help everyone live well together. For example, it is not allowed to be noisy at night. 
There is a house master in every housing complex. The house master takes care of things if they break. The house master is in his office at certain times. You can also write him an email or call him. 

4/ Some students have questions 
Some students need help, for example 
- with the authorities or health insurance
- Questions about social benefits. Social benefits are benefits from the state, such as child benefit, citizen benefit or housing benefit.
- Questions about health insurance
- if you have questions about getting a job/working while studying
- if you are in a crisis or conflict situation. Crises or conflict situations can be when students do not have enough money for their studies and for living or do not know whether they will manage to finish their studies. 

5/ Some students have children. 
The Studierendenwerk Hamburg has day-care centres for children. The abbreviation for this is Kita. In the Kita, children of students are looked after. In the Kita, children can play, eat and sleep during the day. Then students can concentrate better on their studies.

 6/ Some students have an impairment or a permanent illness.
We advise students with impairments or a permanent illness. If you are not yet a student and are interested in studying, you can also contact the Counselling Centre for Social Affairs & International Affairs - BeSI.

7/ Some students do not come from Germany. 
Some students come from other countries and want to study in Germany. They don't know their way around Hamburg very well. The Studierendenwerk Hamburg supports these students in starting their studies in Hamburg.

8/ Pregnant students or students with children sometimes have questions about money and benefits from the state.
The Studierendenwerk Hamburg answers questions on topics such as 

  • BAföG
  • Child Money
  • Initial equipment for the baby
  • Parents' money
  • Sozial-Geld for the child


All counselling sessions are confidential. This means that the staff of the Studierendenwerk Hamburg are not allowed to talk to anyone else about what the students say during counselling. Counselling is also free of charge.