Do you have any questions?

We value each inquiry we recieve. To save you time, we have listed questions below that are frequently asked as well as their answers. Please choose the topic you are interested in.

Didn't find your question?

Please send us an e-mail at kommunikation@sw-ka.de. We will check your question and answer it here if it's relevant to your fellow students. Please check whether your question can be answered with a direct call to us.

For whom is the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe responsible?
We are responsible for over 30.000 students that attend the universities in Karlsruhe and Pforzheim.

Regarding student loans and grants, we are also responsible for other universities. If you would like to know if we are responsible for your university, please click “I’m studying at” on the left. There, you will get a list of all the colleges and universities that we serve. If you click on your university, you can learn what services we offer you.

How long does it take to receive an answer regarding a room in a student residence?
After you've submitted your application, it remains valid for six months. If you don’t receive an acceptance after this period, please submit another application. Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing delays of 1-2 semesters for student accommodation and cannot provide you with a fixed waiting time.
Does the Studierendenwerk rent cars or vans to someone who is moving or in need of transportation?
The Studierendenwerk does not rent moving vans to students. However, there is the possibility of renting a moving van from AStA. Further information can be found on www.asta-kit.de/service/fahrzeuge, directly at AStA, or under 0721-608 48460.
When is the Studierendenwerk open?
The opening hours of the Studierendenwerk depend on which service you are looking for. For example, the dining halls have different opening hours than the Housing department or the day care facilities.
The easiest way to find the opening hours is at each department in the navigation bar on www.sw-ka.de.
Can I find infant care in Karlsruhe from the Studierendenwerk?
The Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe is offering two day care facilities for children:

Kindergarten Blumenland
54 spots
2 toddler groups (1-3 years) with 12 spots each
2 mixed-age groups (3-6 years) with 15 spots each
Encouraging sensory perception
Encouraging movement and creativity
Trips to the park or the zoo
Visits to the Puppet Theater
Phone: 0721 380452
blumenland@sw-ka.de

Day-care facility Sternschnuppe
20 spots
For children at the ages of 3-6 years
Encouraging creativity, fantasy and sensory perception
Bilingual language education (French)
Music and movement education
Nature education
Art classes, excursions in and around Karlsruhe
Nursery school
Phone: 0721 6084511
sternschnuppe@sw-ka.de

Why do I pay the social contribution / semester fee?
The German Studierendenwerks are institutions under the public law, and thus, they are non-profit service and commercial enterprises. They have the responsibility of supporting the students socially, financially, and culturally.

In order to fulfill this responsibility, funds are needed. The social contribution of the students makes approximately 12 percent of the funds. The majority of the funds, almost 60 percent, the Studierendenwerks makes themselves(figures from 2003).

In what form does the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe promote cultural work of students?
We are together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Studentendienst Karlsruhe e.V. shareholders of the Student Cultural Centre (Studentische Kulturzentrum am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie gGmbH).

We provide a ballroom in the Studentenhaus as a versatile space.

I'm having trouble putting together a study timetable. Who can help me?
The Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe gives advice in all matters concerning your studies. For questions about studying (substantive and administrative questions), please contact the respective institutions within your university. The zib (www.zib.uni-karlsruhe.de) is a cross-university counselling service.

Can I live in a student residence hall if I am not a student?
The Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe is solely responsible for the needs of the students. This is statutory stipulated. Therefore, the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe is not allowed - nor is it in our interest - to rent the rooms in our halls of residence to non-students.
What should I do if I want to move within a student residence hall of the Studierendenwerk?
On the housing section of our homepage under “Housing-ABC,” you will find the following section on moving:

Moving
Moving to another rented property from the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe is only possible in special and justified cases. For the extra effort from our team, you will have to pay a fee.

If you have any further questions, please contact us: wohnen@sw-ka.de

Did you forget the keys in the room?
It is best to contact the housemaster of your residence. Please note: although the housemasters are always available, they are not always free of charge! The on-call services on weekdays after 16 o’clock and all day on weekends and holidays are not free of charge!
How can I apply for a room in residence hall?
You must fill out an application for Karlsruhe or Pforzheim. These applications can be downloaded in the Housing section of the homepage or picked up at the Housing Department (Adenaurring 7, room Z05 or Z06, KA).
When should I apply for a room in a residence hall?
You can apply for your desired move-in date as early as six months before you expect to move in. Your application is good for six months from its arrival to the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe. Applications and rentals are possible throughout the year.
What are the chances of receiving a spot?
This question is difficult to answer; your chances are higher if you are flexible in your choice of residences. Time flexibility is also a great advantage. At the beginning of the semester, there are always fewer rooms available. The best chances of finding a room are in August or February/March.
Where can I find offers for rooms and flats from private renters?
Our private accommodation service is free of charge and the offers can be found in the basement of the Studentenhaus (Adenauerring 7, KA, Monday to Friday 7-17, Saturday 8-12) - but of course you can also find them here on the Internet, or have a look in the local newspapers: "Badische Neueste Nachrichten", "Der Kurier", "Karlsruher Anzeiger", "SperrMüll".
As a renter, can I offer more accomodations?
Of course. If you can offer more than one room in the same building, you can simply enter the number of rooms in the empty box regarding the type of room. Otherwise, you can add more ads by clicking on "New Entry" after the entering the first ad.
If I want to make a request termination, does it matter if I make it at end of the month or a week later?
For specific questions such as these, please contact the staff of the Housing Department under: 0721 6909-200.
What are the termination deadlines?
The termination options and deadlines are regulated by your rental contract.

When and how must I begin to pay back BAföG after graduation?
For information on this topic, please contact the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne at the hotline 0228 / 993584500 or visit the homepage www.bafoeg.bmbf.de
Who can receive BAföG?
Basically, more students are entitled for BAföG than those who actually apply for it. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to submit an application.

In order to simplify the first steps of the application process, you have the possibility of submitting an informal application that can be completed in just 3 minutes. Please submit the informal application at the beginning of the semester. A few weeks later, you will receive a reminder along with a request to submit the complete application. Once the application has been received and approved, you will retroactively receive the BAföG from the beginning of the month in which you submitted the application.
Where do I submit the application?
The application must be submitted to the Studierendenwerk responsible for your university. The Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe is responsible for the universities in Karlsruhe, Pforzheim, and Calw.
When should I submit the application?
We advise you to submit the application as soon as possible, or, for students in their first semester, as soon as you have enrolled at the university. Money will be granted from the month of application at the earliest; no benefits will be paid retroactively.

Students who are really busy at the beginning of the first semester and do not have time to complete the long application form can temporarily submit a so-called "informal application" (Download). They must also state that they will submit the long application, unsolicited, within a specified period of time.

How long may I receive BAföG?
You can receive BAföG for the duration of a standard period of study. In addition, you can receive BAföG for serious reasons such as illness, pregnancy, and parenting.

The permit is usually for two semesters. You must submit another application two months before the end of the permit periods. Afterwards, BAföG will continue to be given to you without delay.

Will my parents’ income be counted, even if I am already married?
Yes. The parental maintenance obligation is not extinguished by the marriage.

Do the dining halls and cafeterias use genetically modified food?
No. We deliberately do not use “Gen-Food” in our dining halls and cafeterias because we are critical of genetically modified goods, and we find the current state of research in the matter to be insufficient. You can learn more about our quality standards under the category “quality in the realm of food.”
Who do I write to if I have a complaint or a suggestion for improving the dining hall or cafeteria?
You can send an email to gastronomie@sw-ka.de
Are there also vegetarian options available?
Yes, we offer at least one vegetarian option every day in all of our dining halls. For more information, look at our daily menu under “Meals.”
Can guests also eat at the dining hall?
Yes, guests can eat in the dining halls. Be aware, prices are different for guests.
Can I pay with an HS card at the Am Adenauerring Dining Hall?
Yes, it is possible. You can pay with a Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe chip card at all dining halls and cafeterias of the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe in both Karlsruhe and Pforzheim. This also applies to student IDs with integrated pay-chips of the University and College of Karlsruhe.
I lost something in the dining hall. Where can I recover it?
The Studierendenwerk’s Lost and Found is located in the foyer of the Student House at the Script Sales booth. There you can find all items that have been found in the Student House and the Am Adenauerring Dining Hall.

Tel: 0721 / 6909294

How many meals are served daily?
It is different at every facility. It can range from 120 meals to 9,500 meals daily per facility (during the semester). In 2013, a total of 1,800,483 meals were served.
Why do lines close immediately at the beginning of the semester break?
During the semester break, the number of customers reduces by about 50%. We use this time to do renovations and keep our facilities at the optimal technical and hygienic standards. Additionally, it gives our staff the opportunity to take vacations.
How do you evaluate which meals are popular?
We work with a modern merchandise management program that allows us to generate detailed analyses and determine the most popular meals.
What happens with the unsold food at the end of the day? Is it thrown away or donated to charity?
We have very few leftovers because we have spent so long addressing this issue. If hygienic and reasonable, pre-produced dishes are re-refrigerated and re-processed. Therefore, contributions to third parties are not necessary.
Where does the food come from? Specifically, where does the meat come from? Are regional suppliers preferred? Do you have Bio-products?
We obtain our food from regional suppliers as much as possible. We are Bio-certified and take the cost of Bio-products into consideration. On top of that, we use sustainable products like MSC fish, Qualivo meat, and LemonAid. Fresh meat is exclusively obtained from regional butchers.
How balanced are the meals? Particularly, does the quick plate have sufficient nutrients and vitamins?
Our meals are inherently balanced. Every customer can choose for themselves because of all the choices offered.
Why is there no “Mensa Vital” in the dining halls of the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe?
We have observed the development of “Mensa Vital” for a long time. A short while ago, we requested clearance for Karlsruhe from the German Studentenwerk.
Is there a nutrition table for the offered dishes?
Unfortunately, this cannot be realistically accomplished.
Are allergy warnings displayed?
Since December 13th 2014, it has been a legal requirement to display warnings for 14 defined allergies.
Why are the declarations of things like vegan or vegetarian often unavailable or incorrect?
The declarations are generated from the master data. At present, this data is still incomplete, but a team is currently engaged in a project to complete the data. Once their project is complete, the problem should be fixed.
Could more vegan products be offered?
We are working closely with the “Vegan Initiative” in order to provide more vegan options in our facilities (dining halls and cafeterias).
Why is there no display of vegan salad dressings?
This will also be changed in the course of the allergy displays changing.
Is there a list of additives available?
This list is with the list of dishes and will be adjusted to be more visible along with the change of allergy displays.
Why are the noodles often so soft?
In our dining halls, we use Bio-pasta that has different cooking properties in comparison to conventional pasta (gluten). This can give the false impression that we are not preparing food correctly. The meal plan team considers points like these when thinking about improvements.
Why are there large price differences between main dishes and sides?
Main dish components are usually more expensive than sides.
Why do some lines charge by weight and some not? Why, as a result, is the same salad more expensive at a line which charges by weight than at a line which charges per item?
Dishes that are self-portioned have to be charged this way. Additionally, we were frequently asked to charge by weight so that people who did not take as much food would not have to pay as much.
Why can the dining hall not currently be used for events? When will the dining hall be renovated to meet fire regulations?
We currently meet the outlined standards of the regulatory agency. If you have further questions, please contact the appropriate authority. Renovations will begin in October 2014 and will continue for about one year.
The addition of a pizza line should be part of the reconstruction project. When will the renovations begin and when could the line go into service?
The Studierendenwerk is planning on the implementation later in 2015. However, we are still dependent on other services.
Why aren't there any water dispensers in the dining halls?
We are subject to extremely strict hygiene regulations. At the recommendation of our hygiene institute and in the interest of the students, we have decided against having water dispensers.
Why do the salad dressings run out so quickly?
The salad dressing bar must be kept cool for hygienic reasons. Because of this, there is a predetermined limit to how much dressing we can prepare and we only refill if absolutely necessary.
Our meal planning team will take this point into consideration in the hope of improving the dining hall experience.
Why is the cutlery located before the food and not after?
We determined that the current silverware placement leads to the lines moving more efficiently.
Are employees hired directly or hired through a contractor?
As of 2014, the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe employs more than 300 individuals. Of them, 172 are active in the field of college gastronomy. When many of our employees are on sick leave, the need to employ outside help is sometimes inevitable to ensure the reliable service of our customers and prevent our staff from being overwhelmed.
Are employees paid according to a collectively agreed upon pay scale?
Yes!
Are there work integration measures in place?
Yes!
What happens with the revenues from advertising?
Advertising revenues are expensed to the communication cost center. This reduces the expenditures of that cost center and it is therefore, again, indirectly available to students.

Can the ballroom be rented by non-student organizations or for private purposes?
Yes, if the schedule permits. Student cultural groups, other recognized student groups, and university institutions have priority.

Where do I get a social security ID?
You can get a social security ID from your health insurance provider. They request it from the pension insurance institute and it will take about 3 months before the ID comes. In the meantime, your insurance will provide you with a temporary certificate.
Which child-care facilities are offered?
We offer a Kindergarten on the Adlerstraße for children between the ages of one and six, and a day care facility for children between the ages of three and six on the Hertzstraße.
When can the social contribution be refunded?
When you can no longer make use of our services, e. g. when you graduate or leave the university or spend a semester abroad. We will refund the social contribution until a maximum of 40 days after the semester has started.

Who uses the services of the PBS?
Students of all faculties and men and women, regardless of their age.
What can I come to the PBS for?
Basically for all kinds of problems. If a matter is percieved as a problem, this alone is a reason for doing something about it. It is always sensible to ask for help. Lack of self-confidence, having no partner, having difficulties with your partner, friends, professors, or family, depression, addiction, grief, phobias, panic are all reasons to seek treatment, and this list goes on. As stated before, if something becomes a problem, the PBS will try to help you, regardless of how small your problem may seem to be when compared to the problems of others. Our experience has shown that students’ problems differ in many aspects to everyday problems.
How many students use the services of the PBS per year?
Around 1000 students on average.
Is psychological counselling free of charge?
Psychological counselling is free of charge because the PBS is largely financed through social contributions.
Which universities does the PBS serve?
The PBS serves Karlsruhe University, the University of Education, the Universities of Applied Sciences (Karlsruhe and Pforzheim), the University of Design, and the University of Music.
What method does the PBS use?
As a counselling service, the PBS can adapt psychological and therapeutic methods to the wishes of the clients. Our staff is trained in different therapeutic fields: client-centred therapy (conversation therapy), behaviour therapy, psychodrama, creative therapy, and hypnotherapy.
What is the duration of a conversation?
A conversation usually takes 45-50 minutes. Groups and conversations for couples and families can take around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Under special circumstances and if desired, the sessions might take longer; this will be arranged between you and our staff.
Are there alternatives to the PBS?
There are always alternatives. There are several counselling institutions and psychotherapists in Karlsruhe. The PBS, however, is adapted to the needs of students, free of charge, and, in contrast to other psychotherapists, has virtually no waiting time. The PBS can also provide you with information about other counselling institutions, therapy offers, etc.
I would prefer to talk to a man/woman. Is that possible?
Of course!
Is there data privacy protection?
The PBS practices absolute data protection and psychologists are bound to professional discretion. Personal information is not given out to third parties – not even to relatives. All information is secured and locked. Only you can release us from professional discretion if necessary. There are, however, cases where psychologists have to abandon professional discretion: if they have to appear in court (psychologists do not have the right to refuse to give evidence) or in cases of immediate danger to your own life or the life of someone else.
Does a visit to the PBS mean a lot of paperwork?
Does a visit to the PBS mean a lot of paperwork? Not at all. You simply call and make an appointment with us. Appointments are normally available for a time within two weeks of your call. If it’s an emergency, we can usually offer an appointment immediately, depending on the workload at the office.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
This question needs a longer discussion. In short: counselling does not last as long as therapy, is more based on problems and actions, and your own initiative is required. Counselling and therapy basically differ more in form than in content.
How often do I have to come to the PBS?
It depends on your request. Counselling appointments are set up in consultation with you, as needed, on a weekly, 14-day, monthly basis and, if necessary, even for longer intervals. How long a counselling session will last can´t be predicted; happiness, mood, behavior, personality development and satisfaction depend on too many factors that can´t be controlled.
Isn’t it better to solve one’s problems with the help of friends or relatives?
Of course, if it´s possible. Many people use their social connections very effectively when it comes to solving problems. Only when these resources are insufficient (or not present) is a consultation necessary.
Why Email counseling?
Email counseling cannot and does not seek to replace face-to-face counseling. Personal interaction allows for contact on levels beyond just words: body language, facial expressions, gestures, smell, sounds, etc. - there are many dimensions to a personal meeting between people. Email counseling, however, can only show us what is written.

Then why offer Email counseling?

Visiting the counseling center is a big hurdle for many people seeking counseling. Speaking about personal problems with a stranger in an unfamiliar situation can cause some students to feel insecure and anxious enough that they would rather quit than continue counseling. Other students may struggle to make appointments in the PBS due to time conflicts or distance.

If you cannot come to the counseling center due to personal or other reasons, we gladly offer counseling via Email.

How do I get started with Email counseling?
Send an Email to berating@pbs-ka-pf.de.

There are no requirements or guidelines for Email counseling that say what topics are allowed or not. We are available for all problems that regarding your study and life situations.

We can only help you if you share essential information about your problem or concern. Try to describe your problem and any questions you have as clearly and honestly as possible.

Addressing incoming Emails can take a few days but you should receive a confirmation after two business days at the latest. Your Email will be answered by one of our therapists. If possible, we will ask further questions or give recommendations and tips. The length and frequency of your Email counseling depends on your wishes and concerns.

You are always welcome to come in and continue your counseling in person. Many students choose to do this after establishing contact with a counselor via Email.

Who can use Email counseling?
Email counseling is available to all students in the Karlsruhe/Pforzheim college-region. We do not have many ways to verify if you are a student in this region, so we ask, in the spirit of community, that you do not misuse this service.
Important: Legal Terms of Use
By utilizing Email counseling, you acknowledge your agreement to the Terms of Use. Email counseling is not a replacement for therapy. All actions that follow Email counseling are your own responsibility. Utilizing Email counseling does not enter you in any counseling contract.
How do I arrange an appointment for an initial consultation?
To avoid wait times, arrange an appointment either by telephone or in person. An initial consulting session is usually possible within two weeks but same-day meetings may be possible for emergencies. Requesting a particular therapist may result in longer wait times.
What does the initial appointment look like?
- Before the appointment, you will fill out a questionnaire that helps us get an overview of your situation. The PBS has used this questionnaire for years. It allows us to evaluate your concerns as professionally and comprehensively as possible, while still being quick. Furthermore, we use the questionnaires to quality-check our work and observe trends. Your effort in filling out the questionnaire also benefits future clients.

- The appointment itself lasts about 50-60 minutes and helps us better understand your living situation, your problem, and you as a person. At the end of the appointment, provided it is possible and desired, we will recommend how to advance. This may consist of information, advice, or recommendations of further psychotherapeutic support.

And after the initial appointment?
In some cases, the client’s problem is satisfactorily addressed in the first counseling session. There is often, however, a need for further counseling. Provided we do not see other support possibilities as more fitting, we gladly offer further sessions. In addition to individual sessions, we also offer couples, family, and group counseling.

Depending on the need, appointments can take place weekly, biweekly, monthly, or at other intervals. 90 percent of our counseling takes anywhere from 1 to 20 total hours. 10 percent of our clients require more appointments beyond this. Regardless of the number of appointments, counseling in the PBS is free of charge.

During the course of your counseling, we may get the impression that someone else would better address your concerns (a specialist, self-help group, clinic, doctor, etc.). If this happens, we will provide you with appropriate information and addresses.

Can you give some more information about the counselors and therapists?
If you want to learn more about us before a counseling session or therapy, read the following text or simply ask us.

There are numerous ways to promote the happiness of yourself and that of everyone: Religion, philosophy, economy, politics, art, love, and community life are all things that can all fulfill this purpose. Psychotherapeutic counseling, behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, systemic therapy, gestalt therapy, etc. are all specific understandings and practices that help counsel individuals to live free, happy, and creative lives. There are many factors that influence the psychological conditions of our life’s relationships. Some of these factors are perception, imagination, dreams, thoughts, judgements, motivations, interests, feelings, attitude, demeanor, personality, interaction, communication, learning, and development.

Research from the last hundred years has shown that the success of counseling and therapy does not only depend on the methods used, but also on how well the therapist/counselor and client get along. Therefore, the counselors and therapists make considerable efforts during their work and education to be a good fit for as many clients as possible. Normally, both the client and counselor know within the first two or three meetings whether or not they will have a productive and helpful relationship. The client does not need to know anything about the therapist to have good feelings and a good experience with the situation. In some forms of psychoanalysis, the therapist will withhold as much information about themselves as possible. This keeps the discussion as open as possible to allow the thoughts, feelings, and fantasies of the client to flow freely. Other therapists wish to build a trustful relationship with clients so they share information about themselves.

Accordingly, there are some clients who find learning about their therapist distracts from their own issues. For others, it is helpful or even necessary to learn personal information about the therapist. The simplest way is just to ask.