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Ticket trick: How employees sneak into student tickets – and everyone looks the other way


Everything is getting more expensive, including mobility. Some try to circumvent this – and take the bus and train through a legal gray area on student terms. Funny how nobody cares.

Everything is getting more expensive, including mobility.

Some try to circumvent this – and take the bus and train through a legal gray area on student terms.

Funny how nobody cares.

Cologne – “bogus students”.

Aren't they the ones who convince themselves in the 27th law semester that they really want to get to the end now?

No: the term means something else.

They are people who are on wages and bread - and are still enrolled at a university.

But they don't really study.

You just want the discounted semester ticket for local public transport.

Our editorial team is aware of such cases.

Nobody wants to talk about it publicly.

Michael Fuhlrott says: "Sham students" do nothing that is forbidden, at least not in the legal sense.

Fuhlrott is a specialist lawyer for labor law.

“The behavior may be antisocial, as benefits are being used that should actually accrue to a group that cannot earn an income because of their studies.

However, it will not usually be relevant under criminal law.” After all, anyone who enrolls at a university does not make any statement as to whether they are seriously aiming for a degree.

“So enrollment is not a declaration that you want to attend lectures and take exams.

The course is also geared towards freedom,” says Fuhlrott.

It is difficult to find out how many "fake students" there are.

According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, a total of 2,915,700 students are enrolled at German universities.

How many of them are seriously studying - and how many just want to get their tickets?

"False students" are difficult to unmask


Munich Merkur from IPPEN.MEDIA

asked various universities.

The answers can be summed up as follows: They know the problem with the "bogus students", but do nothing about this because it is impossible to find out the real motives.

“In the 2022 academic year, around 9,000 students enrolled at Universität Hamburg.

For understandable reasons, it is not possible to check this group for their motives," said the University of Hamburg.

The current 40,000 students cannot be checked for resource reasons.

In fact, there are few points of contact for the universities.

Various examination regulations offer one possibility.

They regulate the modalities on the way to the conclusion.

In some courses, for example, it is stipulated that you have to successfully complete certain examinations within the first three semesters.

Anyone who does not do this will be exmatriculated.

An obstacle that is easy to avoid.

With just a few clicks you can find out which courses you can be enrolled in for several semesters - without even seeing the inside of the university.

And if there is actually a threat of de-registration, a new course of study is simply taken up.

Expert: Universities have a natural interest in "fake students"

Even if one could prove to "bogus students" that they only registered for the ticket, the question remains: where does the damage occur?

“That aspect is next to deception

elementary to classify the behavior as fraud in the legal sense,” explains labor lawyer Fuhlrott.

However, another question is much more important.

Do the universities want it at all?

There is a logical reason why universities treat "bogus students" rather neglected.

Fuhlrott: “Universities don't always have a real interest in banning 'fake students', because they don't cost any additional capacity.

A large number of students is also often important for universities, since this is how the allocation of public money and funds is measured, among other things.” The public sector finances 90 percent of German universities.

The federal states pay 75 percent and the federal government 15 percent.

The remaining ten percent come from private sources, for example from contract research.

33.50 euros instead of 276.20 euros per month - and even a larger tariff area

“Picture students” get reduced bus and train travel, and their universities receive their semester fee every six months on time.

A win-win situation?

Not for the local transport associations.

A fictitious example shows that they are missing out on a considerable sum: Julius is studying at the University of Cologne.

In the current winter semester, he paid a semester fee of EUR 309.15.

That's 51.50 euros per month.

With his ticket, Julius can travel all over North Rhine-Westphalia.

For comparison: If he were to buy a monthly ticket from the local transport association in the highest price category, he would have to pay 276.20 euros a month - and could only travel a fraction of NRW.

Inquiry at the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV).

The industry association represents the interests of public transport.

They really don't seem to care about the money that's missing month after month.

One has no individual contracts with the students and should contact the universities, writes a VDV spokesman.

Danger of confusion: working students and "bogus students"

It is absolutely normal for students to work alongside their studies.

There are different forms, the most popular model is a job as a "working student".

The advantage for employees and employers: no social security contributions have to be paid for health, nursing care and unemployment insurance.

"However, this so-called working student privilege presupposes that no more than 20 hours/week of employment are pursued and that the focus is on studying," explains employment lawyer Michael Fuhlrott.

If the working student works more than 20 hours a week outside of the semester break, the full social security contributions are due.

49-euro ticket has massive impact on students

The largest part of Julius' semester contribution ends up at the VRS.

Students pay EUR 201.40 for the public transport ticket.

Extrapolated, it would be 2,911.60 euros that the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (VRS) loses per year because Julius enrolls as a student and does not buy a “normal” ticket.

But the old adage applies: where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge.

The state indirectly owns the VRS and finances the universities, explains Fuhlrott.

His conclusion: "There is a lack of political pressure."

However, the cards could be reshuffled with the introduction of the 49-euro ticket.

The status "bogus student" then becomes less attractive.

Because the savings potential – calculated per month – is marginal in Julius' example between the 49-euro ticket and the semester ticket (51.50 euros per month).

The only question is: when will the 49-euro ticket come out?

The political debate is ongoing.

The start date is still being debated.

April 1st and May 1st are in the room.

The federal states accuse Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) of delaying the introduction.

Developments that "fake students" are probably watching very closely.

Will you re-register for the summer semester, which starts on April 1st?

It will be interesting to see how many students there will be in Germany when the 49-euro ticket is introduced and the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office are available.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-27

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