Semester ticket FAQ
Table of contents
What is the semester ticket and what can I do with it?
The semester ticket is a personal, non-transferable ticket for using the public transport network for a period of one semester. On your HTW StudentCard (HSC) you will see there is a VBB logo (Berlin and Brandenburg public transport association) and also the semester for which the ticket is valid. In conjunction with an official identity document or an international student identity card (ISIC) your HTW StudentCard is valid as a public transport ticket.
You can use the semester ticket to travel on all lines of all VBB transport companies in the fare zone Berlin ABC (Berlin and surrounding area). The only exclusions are certain special lines and excursion lines. Local and InterRegio trains within the fare zone are included, but long-distance trains (ICE, EC, IC) are not.
The semester ticket entitles children up to the age of six to travel free of charge with the ticket holder (maximum of three children on ferries). Luggage, one dog, one pram and one bicycle are also included free of charge. The General Conditions of Carriage of the transport companies otherwise apply.
Is the semester ticket only valid during the teaching period?
The semester ticket is valid for the full semester period: in summer semester from 1 April to 30 September, in winter semester from 1 October to 31 March.
How and when do I receive the semester ticket?
If you enrol by the deadline, you will receive your student card – the HTW StudentCard (HSC) – before the start of the semester. However, if you can only enrol after 15 March/September because your documents are not yet complete or because you have not yet paid the semester fee in full, it cannot be guaranteed that you will receive your HSC on time. You will normally keep your HSC until you de-register and leave the university. When you re-register for each semester, a new semester ticket is printed on your HSC.
I am an exchange student or scholarship holder at HTW Berlin. Will I receive a semester ticket?
Yes. Students who are only temporarily enrolled at HTW and are not graduating from here also pay the fee and receive a semester ticket. Whether or not this also applies to students who study at HTW Berlin for less than one semester is currently being clarified by the Student Council (AStA).
I travel by bike/car. I don't need the ticket. Can I apply for an exemption?
No. An exemption from the obligation to pay the fee will only be granted to students who are objectively unable to use the ticket. If you do not wish to use the ticket but could in principle, you are required to pay for it. You can always decide to use public transport after all during the semester. The semester ticket is based on a solidarity model. This means that all students contribute towards the price together, and in return the service is much cheaper for everyone. In other words, you are helping to pay for those students who regularly use public transport, but in return you have the opportunity to use it yourself.
I have an annual ticket for public transport. Do I have to pay double now?
No. You can return your annual ticket. As soon as you receive your HTW StudentCard (HSC) and have printed (= validated) the semester ticket, take it to the ticket office of the transport company from which you bought your annual ticket. You can then give back the monthly stamps you no longer need and receive a refund of the amounts already paid.
I cannot pay the money for the semester fees by the re-registration deadline. What can I do?
Unfortunately very little — unless you have reasons for applying for a subsidy in accordance with the Social Fund Regulations. Payment by instalments is also not possible. Studierendenwerk Berlin offers foreign students and single parents the possibility to receive an interest-free bridging loan or a subsidy without any complicated bureaucracy. Information can be obtained from the social counselling team of Studierendenwerk Berlin.
I am also studying at another university. Will I still receive a semester ticket for HTW Berlin?
The semester ticket fee is paid by all students who enrol at HTW Berlin as their primary university and who exercise their membership rights in the student body of HTW Berlin. Students who enrol at HTW Berlin as their secondary university and exercise their student body membership rights at another university (dual enrolment) are not obliged to pay fees after they have submitted the relevant proof and will not receive a semester ticket from HTW Berlin.
Is the semester ticket transferable?
No. It is a personal ticket that is issued in your name and is linked to your photo. Even without a photo, it is only valid as a transport ticket in conjunction with an official identity document.
Do I have to purchase the semester ticket?
The semester ticket is a compulsory fee which all students of HTW Berlin are required to pay. Payment of the fee is a prerequisite for enrolment and re-registration. In the worst case, students who are required to pay the fee but fail to do so will be de-registered. In special cases an exemption from the obligation to pay the fee or alternatively a subsidy towards the semester ticket fee may be granted.
What is the difference between an exemption and a subsidy?
If you cannot use the semester ticket because you are living outside of Berlin for study-related reasons (internship, semester abroad, final thesis) or because you are exempt from public transport fees for other reasons, you can apply for an exemption. If you are granted an exemption, the semester ticket on your HTW StudentCard (HSC) will be invalidated and can no longer be used for public transport in that semester. If this invalidation only takes place during the course of the semester, an exemption on a pro rata basis is only possible for at least three full months.
If you are experiencing particular financial difficulties in paying for the ticket, you may be able to apply for a subsidy towards the ticket price. If you fulfil the conditions for a subsidy (special social hardship), your application will be approved and you will not have to pay for part of the ticket price or even the full ticket price. The semester ticket will not be invalidated, it is still valid.
How can I apply for an exemption or a subsidy?
The application forms can be found on the exemption and subsidy web pages where they can be filled out online and then printed. Application forms that can be filled out by hand are available from the Student Service Centre (SSC) and in front of the Semester Ticket Office in the “Studimeile”, room K41. Please make sure that your application form is completed in full and is clearly legible, signed and submitted with all the necessary supporting documents.
Hand in your application and the required proof to the SSC on the Treskowallee campus.
If I receive an exemption or a subsidy, can I then reduce the amount I have to pay for re-registration?
Only students who have paid all of the fees and contributions which they are obliged to pay will be re-registered or enrolled. If a decision has not been made about your application by the re-registration deadline and you have not paid the semester fee by this date, you will only be able to re-register if you pay the late penalty fee (unless Student Services is responsible for the delay). If you submit your application in plenty of time ahead of the re-registration deadline (or even before the start of the re-registration period) and it is approved, you will be notified about the reduced semester fee in the LSF. This enables you to make a reduced payment and avoids the need for a subsequent refund process.
I submitted an application for an exemption or a subsidy on time before the re-registration deadline. I still have not received any notification and/or a refund. What can I do?
Submitting your application in plenty of time ahead of the re-registration deadline (or even before the start of the re-registration period) will help us to notify you in advance about the reduced semester fee in the LSF if your application is approved. This will enable you to make a reduced payment and avoid the need for a subsequent refund process. However, in certain cases there may be delays in processing applications. As a rule, you will be informed about this (e.g. if supporting documents for your application are missing and still need to be submitted).
Responsibility for processing exemption and subsidy applications was recently transferred from the Semester Ticket Office to the Student Services department. Transferring this administrative process took longer than expected. This has unfortunately resulted in a general delay in processing applications during this transitional phase. However, we are now processing applications as quickly as possible.
Who do I contact with questions about my application for an exemption or a subsidy?
From summer semester 2019, the Admissions Office is responsible for processing applications for exemptions and subsidies. Application forms and supporting documents can be handed in to the Student Service Centre.
Questions about submitted applications are best answered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Important: please include your student ID number and indicate which semester you submitted your application for.
General questions before you submit your application can also be discussed in person at the Semester Ticket Office.
What is the Semester Ticket Office exactly and where can I find it?
The Semester Ticket Office is an advisory office for all applications for semester ticket exemptions and subsidies. It was set up by the Student Council (AStA) following a decision by the Student Parliament. The office is located in the main building in the “Studimeile” (room K41). From summer semester 2019, the Student Services department will process these applications. However, before you submit your application, you can ask any questions you may have to the Semester Ticket Office at any time.
Why am I forced to pay for a ticket I don't want to have?
In January 2005, HTW Berlin students voted to introduce the semester ticket in this form. In a further ballot vote in November 2007, students confirmed that they wanted to continue the semester ticket system. The form of the semester ticket and the compulsory collection of fees are set out in the Berlin Higher Education Act (BerlHG). § 18a specifies how the student body can design and introduce the ticket. In § 14 it is stipulated that when a semester ticket system is introduced, payment of the fee is a compulsory requirement for enrolment and re-registration. The Student Parliament of HTW Berlin has set out the details regarding fee collection, exemptions and subsidies in the “Fee Regulations of the Student Body of HTW Berlin”, the “Regulations in accordance with § 18a (4) BerlHG of the Student Body of HTW Berlin (Semester Ticket Regulations)” and the “Regulations in accordance with § 18a (5) BerlHG of the Student Body of HTW Berlin (Social Fund Regulations)”.