Digital annual report of Studierendenwerk
Studierendenwerk has published its annual report for 2022. A look at the figures provides information about the operating results in another challenging year.
In 2022, students again visited university dining halls more often due to the end of the Corona pandemic. Overall meal counts increased 153 percent, from 683,883 servings in 2021 to 1,750,540 in 2022.
As the pandemic drew to a close, new challenges arose: Due to increased food prices and the onset of the Ukraine war, there were already repeated supply bottlenecks in the spring and thus minor and major deviations in the cafeteria meal plans. All levers were set in motion to replace the planned meals and ingredients equally. Despite great efforts, however, this was not always possible, which caused some disappointment in the dining hall routine, especially among students.
In addition, the generally difficult staff situation after Corona, the switch from short-term to full-time work, and many absences due to illness required additional rescheduling and reductions in offerings. In the early summer, a not inconsiderable number of the required staff were missing in the dining area, making it impossible to resume the usual pre-Corona offers in the dining halls to the full extent. Staff-intensive serving points - such as the popular burger bar - could not be filled in the long term.
In June, due to inflation already looming in 2021, there was also a price increase in the dining halls. Compared to many other universities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Studierendenwerk Aachen reacted early to the tense economic situation and also decided to increase the social contribution for the winter semester. However, the increases in the dining hall area were quite moderate after twelve years of unchanged meal prices.
Back to normal was also the order of the day in 2022 for residents in the 23 dormitories operated by Studierendenwerk: With the end of the pandemic and the prevailing Corona rules, the situation eased, particularly in terms of communal life and get-togethers. Study rooms, basement bars and other recreational areas could be used again and the usual hygiene measures were once again voluntary.
A familiar picture also emerged in terms of room occupancy: The number of applicants had already risen dramatically again for the winter semester 2021/2022, and this trend continued in the year under review. According to the monthly updated applicant list, the demand for housing from Studierendenwerk was higher than ever before, with a peak of around 6,500 applicants.
As relieved as Studierendenwerk was about the end of the pandemic, it was difficult to deal with the war of aggression on Ukraine that began in the spring. The first priority was to support the Ukrainian students living in the dormitories, some of whom traveled to the war zones to help their relatives and friends. In addition, every effort was made to provide emergency housing for students who had fled.
The drastic increase in energy prices prompted Studierendenwerk to recalculate operating costs in the dormitories in the fall. A rent increase at the beginning of the new year was unavoidable.
The accommodations available in the 23 residence halls were almost consistently at 100 percent capacity in 2022. The number of bed spaces available in Aachen and Jülich remained unchanged at a total of 4,960. Housing was provided for 2,080 students in the year under review (2021: 2,105). The placement of a private residential facility in Haarener Gracht was finally abandoned in the year under review.
In the area of BAföG funding, the Office approved a total of 7,030 first-time and repeat applications in 2022. Added to the normal case numbers were students who were still able to submit new applications beyond their regular funding period due to their corona-related "zero semesters" - semesters that are not taken into account under funding law and result in a longer maximum funding period.
Students were supported with a total of around 47 million euros in the year under review. The average funding per person was 553 euros per month.
The Studierendenwerk's daycare facilities play a major role in supporting students' families: It opened its first daycare center as early as 1971, and another four daycare facilities followed. Today, Studierendenwerk provides a total of 174 places. The three daycare centers Pusteblume, Sonnenstrahl and Königshügel, as well as Piccolino, take care of the children of Aachen students and university employees. Kinderkrippe Wolkennest looks after twelve younger than three on the FH campus in Jülich.
The staffing situation in the Studierendenwerk facilities, as in many other daycare centers throughout Germany, was at times very difficult. In 2022, for example, the daycare centers experienced a high turnover of employees, and the management also had to accept many absences due to illness. Despite this, it was always possible to staff the daycare centers in such a way that the children missed nothing. From the middle of the year, the situation eased and there were again many more applicants for the vacant positions.
Studierendenwerk expects the economic situation to remain tense, as it is assumed that there will continue to be large price increases and stagnating subsidies from the state, but it is hardly possible to evaluate the developments. Nevertheless, the overall economic situation of Studierendenwerk Aachen can be assessed as stable for the future, both in the short and long term. The management report included in the annual report provides interested parties with a detailed overview of the Studierendenwerk's financial and asset situation.
The annual report for 2022 has been published as a digital version.
The complete report