Things to know on life as a student

The student life does not only happen in classrooms. It consists of more than studying, practising and taking examinations which makes the period of study particularly exciting. All this, however, needs to be financed. The costs of a student life also include living, food, mobility, medical care and leisure activities. On average students in Germany pay approximate 850 euros living costs (cf. 21. Sozialerhebung von 2016, p.14, in German only). There are no monthly tuition fees at Folkwang University of the Arts; students at Folkwang need to pay a semester contribution twice a year. This consists of the social contribution for the Folkwang AStA and the respective student union as well as the mobility fee for the semester ticket.


We are describing several possibilities for financing the living costs during the studies below.

BAföG, loans & credits

In Germany there is a state assistance for students whose parents cannot sufficiently support them financially during their studies. This assistance has to be paid back I parts and is colloquially called ‚BAföG‘ – an abbreviation of the corresponding German name of the Federal Training Assistance Act. German and partly international students may apply for BAföG with their student service provider. Your Studierendenwerk (student service provider) is happy to advise you on BAföG (i.a. application, additional income, repayment) but also on other possibilities to take a loan as a student. 

a) Students at campuses in Essen and Duisburg

The offices of the Studierendenwerk Essen-Duisburg are located north of the city centre of Essen at the campus of the University of Duisburg-Essen.

b) Students at campuses in Bochum

The Studierendenwerk in Bochum is called Akademisches Förderwerk and is abbreviated as AKAFÖ. (BAföG, in German only) (loans & credits, in German only)

Scholarships & competitions

For excellent and particularly talented students there are numerous scholarship programmes in Germany that vary widely in the scope of their grant (i.a. full or partial scholarships, financial/ideational support). International students can orient themselves with the DAAD scholarship database. 

The 13 scholarship programmes that are specifically designated to students and young researchers with special talents are referred to as ‘Begabtenförderwerke’ (organizations for the promotion of young talent). A grant can be applied for already before start of the studies; international students may also partly be funded. 


Moreover, for students of Folkwang University of the Arts there are several internal scholarships that are always announced with a deadline on 31. May and on 15 December of each year. An application is only possible during the studies and not yet for applicants. The scholarships involve usually a partial scholarship for a limited period of time (e.g. one or two semesters). Further information is available at (in German only). 


Prize money from competitions at Folkwang for students in higher semesters can also help to finance the studies. Current announcements can be found (in Germany only). 



Part-time jobs

In order to finance studying, many students are working besides their studies in a part-time job. The Studierendenwerk Essen-Duisburg (student service provider of Essen and Duisburg) is happy to advise you on the legal regulations and provisions on mini-jobs, word-study positions, freelance work and income tax.

Tip: Many job offers are being sent by AStA to your Folkwang email address. Check it regularly!

If you are interested in a part-time job in your future career field, some occupational groups offer their own job boards – such as e.g. www.bü (in German only), the job board of the German Stage Association for Theatre and Orchestra. 

Apart from private job portals, it is worth looking at the websites of local universities – next to the job opportunities of Folkwang University of the Arts also e.g. the job market of the University of Duisburg-Essen (in German only).

Info: The terms ‚Studentische Hilfskraft (SHK)‘ and ‚Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft (WHK)‘ - colloquially also called ‚HiWi’s - are used for special jobs for university students at or in connection with a university.

Furthermore, Folkwang students can register with the Folkwang Agentur, who handle job placements of students of the fields music, theatre, dance, photography and design for external events.

Special information for international students

If you are coming from a non-EU/EEA country, you need to (already when applying for a visa) prove that you are able to finance your studies in Germany – at present* by providing proof of financial resources for 861 € per month and 10,332 € per year respectively. The Germany Embassy or Consulate in your country inform you in advance on the conditions and accepted types of proof – should you already be in Germany, please contact the local foreigners’ office. 

Info: Should you have provided the evidence of the security amount on a blocked account, please notice that the account needs to be filled up again for the extension of your residence permit.

The Studierendenwerk Essen-Duisburg (student service provider of Essen and Duisburg) will gladly advise you on the legal regulations and provisions for part-time jobs in Germany. If you are holding a residence permit under paragraph § 16 AufenthG the following applies:


_You may generally work 120 full or 240 half days per year and unlimited in student part-time jobs at the university or at affiliated institutions. 

_Self-employment and freelance work need to be approved by the foreigner’s office (for freelance activities you additionally need a tax number of the tax authority; self-employed persons partly also an approval to engage in the activity, partly a business registration).


*As of: 01.01.2021

Life on campus

You can find some information on the important areas of life of students.

Living: Flat-share, apartment or student residence

About 30% of the students in Germany are living in a flat-share, 20% each are living with their parents, with the partner or alone – and 10 % are living in a student residence (cf. 21 social survey conducted by German National Association for Student Affairs, p.20, in Germany only).

If you are house hunting, you can find the some flat advertisements in the Facebook group "Folkwang Blackboard” of the AStA. Online you can look for apartments but also for single rooms in the numerous flat share exchanges and the housing and regional real estate platforms as well as in the small adds platforms. Those are offered partly furnished and/or limited in time; besides private providers also student associations and religious student communities offer living space for students. 

Should are able to have a look around campus, you can also check the notices on the bulletin boards – here you can also find offers that do not appear online.

Tip: For short or temporary stays for the aptitude test or the apartment hunt good options besides hotels and guest houses provide also the local youth hostels in Essen-Werden and in Central Bochum.

The student residences and student residential complexes respectively of the ‚Studierendenwerke‘ (student service providers) offer exclusively for students lower-priced living space – from rooms in flat shares to single rooms on joint floor to own apartments. In Essen and Duisburg you can apply for it online with the Studierendenwerk Essen-Duisburg and in Bochum with the Akademischen Förderungswerk Bochum (AKaFö)

Mobility: Semester ticket throughout NRW

As a student at Folkwang you pay with the semester contribution a semester ticket for the public transportation that is printed on your Folkwang Card after successful enrolment or re-enrolment. With this you have free travel not only in the VRR area, the local transportation federation around the Folkwang campus, but since 2008 also throughout North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The ticket though is only valid in connection with a student and photo ID!

In the VRR area special terms apply in certain time periods such as free of charge bicycle transport or taking another person with you. You can find further information on the ticket on the website of AStA (in German only). Further information on timetables and journeys to a destination are inter alia available here:


_Journey planner of VRR

_Travel Service of Deutsche Bahn (German railway)


VRR and Deutsche Bahn also offer apps for Android and iPhones.

Health insurance

Students at public universities in Germany are subject to a compulsory statutory health insurance until reaching the age of 30 – in certain cases also beyond. This also applies, if you do not reside in Germany (cf. SGB V, §5, Abs. 9; in Germany only). Therefore, you need to proof that you have sufficient health insurance for enrolment at the university as well as for the visa application and prolongation respectively.

In Germany there are two types of health insurances: the statutory and the private. New students may generally freely decide between the two, however this choice is binding for the complete studies. Usually, international students take out an insurance in Germany; the statutory health insurances decide on the possible recognition of a foreign health insurance. 

Any person can be insured with a statutory health insurance and all insured person receive on the basis of the solidarity principle the same services. The student contribution rate (Website in German only) to the statutory health and nursing insurance is currently about 100 € per month (as of 2020) up to the age of 30; above that it is significantly more expensive. Students up to the age of 25 (possibly also older) with no or low income can be insured free of charge in the family insurance of their parents. 

In contrast to the statutory health insurances private health insurances have the right to decide on whether they wish to insure a person and may determine individual insurance rates. They do this on the basis of criteria such as age, gender and state of health. Additionally, you need to pay attention that the agreed scope of services is sufficient for being released from the compulsory statutory health insurance. Privately insured persons mostly receive an appointment with a specialist quicker and higher-quality services when seeing a doctor or in a hospital than statutory insured persons. 

Further information on the different health insurers is available here (German only).

Leisure: University sports, KulturTicket & Events

As a student of Folkwang University of the Arts you can also take part in the university sports of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) – partly additional fees are charged for certain courses. You can find all details on the websites of the university sports of UDE (German only). 

Every year over 400 public Folkwang events in the disciplines music, theatre, dance, design and academic studies take place. As a Folkwang student you are entitled to one free ticket per project. For every further entrance ticket you furthermore receive a 50 % discount. Tickets can be booked through the Folkwang Agentur. The AStA-Café located at Meierei at Campus Essen-Werden is regularly being used for events by the AStA and by students – not only does it provide a catering offer, it also functions as a meeting place for students.  

Thanks to an agreement between AStA and Theater und Philharmonie Essen (theatre and philharmonic orchestra, TUP) you as a Folkwang student can apply for a free TUP KulturTicket (see TUP-Website, in German only). With this ticket you can attend almost all own TUP events at Aalto Theatre, Grillo Theatre and at Philharmonic Orchestra Essen at a price of 1 Euro.

Tip: Many institutions offer a student discount for the entrance free. It is worth an enquiry!

Intercultural Exchange

A language tandem is a personal and flexible method to learn a language that is suitable for all interested students and moreover is a lot of fun. 

You are practising a foreign language or your German respectively and help your partner in return to learn or practise your mother tongue. A language tandem is not only a linguistical but also an intercultural exchange between two people. Folkwang organises language tandems in cooperation with the University of Duisburg-Essen. 

Are you thinking about a studying abroad during your studies?

Students that are interested in a semester or internship abroad receive advice and support at the International Office

The Studierendenwerk Essen-Duisburg (student service provider of Essen and Duisburg) has different intercultural offers for German and international students. These include the Café Lingua – a meeting point for language lovers from all over the world –, intercultural trainings, different events in the student residences and joint activities within the city. 

Food & drink: Canteen & AStA-Café

The canteens, restaurants and cafeterias of the student service providers are oriented in their opening hours towards the university operations and offer you as a student particularly low-priced meals. At Campus Essen-Werden you can find the 

"Canteen, Campus Folkwang" at Meierei und at Campus Welterbe Zollverein the "Bistro, Campus Zollverein" at Quartier Nord. Next to the Folkwang canteens you can also use the other canteens of the canteens of Studierendenwerk Essen-Duisburg and the canteens of AKaFö in Bochum (in German only).

As an additional catering offer the AStA-Café (in German only) has established itself at Campus Essen-Werden as a favourite haunt with extended opening hours and offers drinks and snacks such as coffee, quiche or lemonade at an affordable price.

Active involvement in the university – the student self-administration

Students can actively influence the university affairs as elected representatives in different committees and get involved in the university and their study conditions. Subsequently, you can find a list of some of the boards and committees, in which students can actively take part. A complete overview can be obtained from AStA.

Student Parliament (StuPa)

The StuPa is the highest decision-making electoral body of the student body; decides on standards for the fulfilment of duties of the student body, determines fundamental student issues and represents the student interest in the Senate.

General Student Committee (AStA)

The AStA is the executive organ of the StuPA. The AStA represents the student body outwardly. As official contract partner of the Ruhrbahn GmbH it represents the interests of students for a socially fair semester ticket. Simultaneously, it is contact person for students and takes care of the individual concerns of each student and actively assists wherever possible. 



Faculty councils

The faculty council is the highest decision-making body of the faculty. Besides professors, academic staff and staff members in administration and technical management, two student members, that are elected for a year by their fellow students, belong to the faculty council.

Further committees with student members are for example the central committee “Commission for Anti-Discrimination & Equal Opportunity” and the “awards committee for scholarships” or on faculty level the respective “examinations boards” and the “commission for the quality improvement in teaching and studies”.