In North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen, NRW), the Hochschulgesetz specifies that students at the universities can organize. They have the right to give themselves a statute and manage a budget.
Every WWU student contributes a part to the Constituted Student Body (about 11 euros) by paying the semester fee. From these funds, the student councils are funded as well. But the Student Union (Allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss, AStA) is also paid in this way and gains the opportunity to fulfill its many tasks.
How is the Constituted Student Body organized?
In every winter semester, the elections of the student representations (Fachschaftsvertretungen, FSV), the Student Parliament (Studierendenparlament, SP or StuPa) and the Foreign Student Representation (Ausländische Studierendenvertretung, ASV) take places. In these elections, all students vote lists into the Student Parliament. Through the ratios of numbers of votes the individual lists receive, the distribution of the seats (31 in total) is performed. The StuPa is the highest decision-making organ in the Constituted Student Body and must e. g. vote on the budget. Moreover, the StuPa elects the Student Union (Allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss, AStA) and the referees. The Student Union is the representation of the Student Body to the outside and responsible for negotiating and closing contracts (e. g. for the semester ticket).
The Student Representations (FSV) are elected only by students who study the corresponding subject; for example, the Physics Student Representation is elected by all physics students (but not by geophysics students; double bachelor’s students whose first subject is not physics also vote in a different subject). The FSV in turn elects the Student Council (Fachschaftsrat, FSR). Here, the FSV can roughly be compared to the StuPa and the FSR with the AStA – or in analogy to (state) politics, the FSV and the StuPa with the legislative branch and the FSR and the AStA with the executive branch.
The Foreign Student Representation (ASV) is elected by all foreign students and is supposed to represent these students against other parts of the university, so it can be viewed as a specialized AStA.