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Regulations on German Broadcasting Contribution Fees "Rundfunkbeitrag"

The broadcasting contribution fees finance the public broadcasting program in Germany on the basis of a solidarity model. Everyone who owns his own apartment must pay the broadcasting fee. Also students, also from abroad.

Detailed information on the broadcasting contribution and on possibilities of exemption:
‚ÄĘ The broadcasting contribution fees - a manual of the Deutsches Studentenwerk, the German Student Union (DSW)

In order to facilitate the handling of the broadcasting contribution fees, we have compiled and answered the most frequently asked questions of students.


1. Who should pay?

All adult students living in a flat of their own have to pay the broadcasting fee - 17,50 ‚ā¨ per month. Students receiving Baf√∂G and not living with their parents can apply to be freed on request. For more information see www.rundfunkbeitrag.de


2. What is a ‚Äúflat‚ÄĚ?

Basically, in this sense, every self-contained room unit counts as a flat if it is

  • used for living or sleeping and

  • can be accessed through its own entrance, directly from a staircase, a lobby or  anteroom or from outside ‚Äď and not through another living room.

  • Kitchen and/or bathroom don't have to be included


3. How exactly do rooms in student halls count as ‚Äúflat‚ÄĚ?

  • Single apartments as well as single rooms (if self-contained room units) are counted as single flats. Here, the tenant has to pay the contribution fee of ‚ā¨17.50 per month.

  • Double apartments and the so-called residential groups (i.e., shared apartments) are each allowed to be considered as one flat, meaning only one tenant has to pay the "Rundfunkbeitrag".

4. How may I be exempted from the contribution fee?

Recipients of social benefits can, upon application, be exempted from the contribution fee obligation. Counted amongst these recipients are recipients of BAföG (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) who no longer live with their parents.

The application for exemption is to be submitted in written form to the respective regional broadcasting corporation; the according application forms are readily available in on the internet: www.rundfunkbeitrag.de

The application must include the original or a certified copy of the current version of their BAföG assessment. Furthermore, whoever lives in a shared living residence must disclose the names of his or her roommates as well.

Send your application for exemption to

  • Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio, 50656 K√∂ln

For married couples and couples with an officially registered life partnership (the official title is ‚Äúeingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft‚ÄĚ) who share a residence, for example in a double apartment, the BAf√∂G exemption rule also applies for one‚Äôs partner. However, if a couple is living together in a partnership that is not officially registered, then one‚Äôs partner will be asked to pay the contribution fee.


5. Are students from abroad exempted?

No, there are no special regulations for students from abroad/foreign students. Also, there are no special regulations for students with scholarships or for students who are in Germany on exchange programs (i.e., Erasmus).


6. Can shared-living residences select the fee contributor themselves?

No. The essence of the joint and several debtor liability is that the creditor ‚Äď here, the according regional radio broadcasting corporation ‚Äď can decide who they want to choose as the person responsible for paying the fee.

Therefore, the trick cannot be pulled off where the tenants of a shared living residence simply choose a BAföG recipient to be the responsible fee contributor, who would of course be exempted from paying the fee.


7. Where can I obtain further information?

Further information can be found on the internet at www.rundfunkbeitrag.de  There you will also find the registration form for the exemption from the broadcasting contribution fee

Illustrated Dictonaries for international students

Both practical and beautifully illustrated are the dictionaries that the Studentenwerk Bielefeld developed not only for international students not only in the dorm residences. The dictionaries were published in eight languages by Studentenwerk and University of Bielefeld, Deutsches Studentenwerk and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Here for you as a PDF download.

Dorm dictionary:



Health Dictionary:


Federal Registration Law

According to the Federal Registration Law (Bundesmeldegesetz) students are obliged to register officially with the city authorities within two weeks of moving to the city. In case of moving they have to unregister.

The required form can be obtained from our office by occupants of the student halls during office hours.

Students living in Kassel, may also use the Department of Residence Service, located in Campus Center, Moritzstraße 18.

Please note: The City of Kassel charges a tax for so called "Zweitwohnungen" (second home residences). Ask the Department of Residence Service, what this means for you.

Accommodation Entitlement Certificate (Wohnberechtigungsschein)

This certificate, which is necessary for renting subsidized accommodation, is available to practically all students who satisfy the income conditions (1 person currently ‚ā¨ 12.000 gross annual income).

The certificate entitles people to rent subsidized accommodation up to a max. of 50 m².

Accurate information (e.g. if the accommodation is shared among several people) is available from the housing authority (Wohnungsamt), where the application is to be made. The following documents are required: identity card (Personalausweis) or passport, if necessary with residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), as well as certificate of matriculation and evidence of income, such as student financial assistance (BAföG) or support.



Please note that the accommodation entitlement certificates are basically issued by the appropriate local authorities (Gemeindeverwaltungen). So, if you live in Baunatal, for example, it is the authority there that is responsible for your application.


Subsidized Accommodation (Sozialwohnungen)

If you have no luck finding accommodation, we suggest looking at the area of publicly supported accommodation. To rent subsidized accommodation an accommodation entitlement certificate (Wohnberechtigungsbescheinigung) is required, which is to be applied for, along with housing allowance (Wohngeld), at the housing authority (Wohnungsamt).
Construction companies that rent out subsidized accommodation:



Housing Allowance (Wohngeld)

Housing support is approved for single students, when all other conditions are satisfied, only if they are not entitled to a student financial assistance (BaföG). This applies when, for example, they change their subject, exceed the age limit or the time limit imposed on loans. Housing support is also possible if the student's state financial assistance is only in the form of a loan.