Admissions blog

STW/BVG fees explained

Students outside blue U-Bahn Stadtmitte station entry on a sunny day at Gendarmenmarkt
The Hertie School is located in the centre of Berlin, near the U-Bahn station Stadtmitte.

Student life in Berlin comes with some sweet perks, made possible in part by the city's studierendenWERK and transport association.

If, as an admitted applicant, you’ve already pored over your study agreement, you’ll notice the fee schedule includes the column “STW/BVG” fees. Generally, students studying at universities in Berlin must pay them. Now just what are these extra costs and what do they cover?

Each semester, you’ll pay 95 euros to the studierendenWERK Berlin (STW) for a variety of student resources and discounts. Additionally, you’ll pay 199.80 euros (2021 price, increases a little each year) to the Berlin-Brandenburg transport association, of which Berlin’s main transport company Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is a member. This will grant you unlimited access to the entire public transport system in Berlin and neighbouring Potsdam. You can also take your bikes along with you and explore hidden corners of Berlin!
 

What is the BVG and what does it offer?

The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe is the company in charge of the U-Bahn (subway), buses, trams and ferries in Berlin, but not the S-Bahn (the rapid transit railway). It was originally called the Berliner Verkehrs Aktiengesellschaft, or “BVG” for short, and while the name was later changed to Berliner Verkehrs-Betriebe, the original acronym stuck. While the S-Bahn and regional trains are run by a different company, your semester ticket will be valid on them as well. For an overview of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, regional trains and, yes, even ferries within the city’s ABC zone, see a recent blog post here.
 

What is the studierendenWERK?

International students might wonder what kind of organisation this is. In Germany, each city/state has a Studierendenwerk or Studentenwerk – a state-run non-profit organisation that looks after students’ social, cultural and economic interests and offers a lot of cool benefits and services, including for housing, cultural activities, counselling services, dining facilities, day care and more. All of these resources are available to all students in Berlin, regardless of nationality or country of origin. Here is just a selection of what’s included in the STW fee:

A note about the STW/BVG fees during the pandemic

We understand that access to the full range of these student resources may be more limited due to the ongoing pandemic. However, all students enrolled at Berlin universities must still pay the STW/BVG fees, which we forward directly to the BVG and the studierendenWERK without commission. The BVG and STW establish these required fees externally, so if there are any changes in policy, we will be sure to inform students immediately and, if possible, process reimbursements.

About the author

  • Vipasha Tulzapurkar, Student Assistant | Recruitment and Admissions

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