“Social conditions are crucial for equal opportunities and academic success”
Since 1982, a survey on the economic and social situation of students in Germany has been conducted by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies on behalf of the German Studentenwerk organisations. The 21st Social Survey has now been released. For the first time, a separate regional edition has been published for the four Saxon Studentenwerk organisations Dresden, Leipzig, Chemnitz-Zwickau and Freiberg. On 15 February 2019, the Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Eva-Maria Stange, and the director of Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau as well as spokesperson for all Saxon Studentenerk organisations, Anja Schönherr, presented the results in a joint press conference. “Due to this regional evaluation, we now have a comprehensive overview of the social profile of students at Saxon universities,” Stange said. Additionally the survey outlined the necessity of the Studentenwerk organisation’s extensive range of tasks, from low-cost meals and operating student halls to cultural activities and counselling services. Saxony is still developing into an attractive place to study and the Studentenwerk organisations play their part in this by doing an excellent job. “In 2019 and 2020, the Free State of Saxony will support the operation of student dining facilities and the social counselling and advice services of the Studentenwerk organisations with eleven million euros each year. An additional five million euros in 2019 and seven million in 2020 of the Federal State's total budget have been set aside as subsidies for investments in student dining facilities and the renovation and targeted new construction of student halls,” added the Science Minister.
Students at Saxon universities have an average of 798 euros per month and spend an average of 259 euros per month on rent and 154 euros on food. 27 per cent of Saxon students receive BAföG (decreasing tendency in time comparison), 60 per cent of students are employed in addition to their studies (increasing tendency in time comparison) with a the amount of time spent being about seven hours per week. Nine per cent of students in Saxony have one or more children and 10 per cent have health impairments impairing their studies. On average, students in Saxony pay 64 euros less rent than students in the rest of Germany. The student residences and student restaurants are particularly popular among students in Saxony. More than half of the students express a need for advice regarding their financial, study-related or personal situation.
To Anja Schönherr, the results are yet again proof that the Studentenerk organisations play a big role in the Saxon academic life. “The evaluation illustrates that specifically students coming from low-income households and with non-academic backgrounds make use of the Studentenwerk services.” These students eat in student restaurants and live in student halls of residence more often than the average. This shows that the services offered by the Studentenwerk organisations are particularly popular with students in need of special support and are essential for providing equal opportunities. “It is therefore indispensable to invest in the social infrastructure of the Studentenwerk organisations in order to facilitate equal opportunities. We are pleased that the Free State of Saxony is providing significantly higher subsidies for the Studentenwerk organisations in the 2019/20 budget and is committed to re-entering the construction and modernisation of student halls of residence,” Schönherr said.