The student service organisations in Germany – the Studierendenwerke (or STWs) – provide information and advice concerning all matters and problems relating to students’ social and economic situations while at the same time taking students individual circumstances into account.
The social counselling advisors at the Studierendenwerke are experts in all legal, financial and social frameworks relating to the student status. They can explain complex and difficult social-legal issues, provide guidance and point out options for action. Social counselling advisors act as mediators in cases of conflict and can help assert claims.
Areas of Social counselling include:
- the funding of studies (employment, support, social benefits, grants)
- financial and material support and the legal prerequisites for it
- benefits and special claims (e.g. meal tickets)
- health insurance issues
- tenancy law
- immigration law such as residence and work permits
- child-raising allowance, child benefits and the right to child care
- higher education and social law legislation concerning disadvantage compensation and academic adjustment for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses
- conflicts with parents, authorities, landlords or flat mates
The earlier you get advice, the better you are!
You don’t have to be facing serious social and economic difficulties in order to ask for advice, as it can also be used to help you plan your studies and thereby prevent the occurrence of serious problems that could jeopardise your studies.
An example: students often find it difficult to gain an overview of their financial situation and the factors affecting it. Long-term planning ensures that the relevant deadlines for applications for social welfare benefits are met and that studies are organised in line with the students' financial concept.
Social counselling advisors help both existing and prospective students develop strategies for funding their studies. These strategies take different life situations and stages of study into account, for example when starting a family while studying or in the event of other difficulties.