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:
• 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 € per month. Students receiving BaföG and not living with their parents can apply to be freed on request. For more information see www.rundfunkbeitrag.de
2. What is a “flat”?
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 – 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 “flat”?
- 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 €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 Köln
For married couples and couples with an officially registered life partnership (the official title is “eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft”) who share a residence, for example in a double apartment, the BAföG exemption rule also applies for one’s partner. However, if a couple is living together in a partnership that is not officially registered, then one’s 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 – here, the according regional radio broadcasting corporation – 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