Student ID and other cards
The TU issues two different cards to all students, which are also used quite differently. As a well-organized student, you should ideally always have both cards with you!
Before each semester, after you have transferred your semester fee (ideally in time, of course), you will receive your student ID card by mail. This means that there is a new card every semester, which makes it rather thin and paper-like.
With this student ID you identify yourself within the university. You need it to write an exam (there you have to identify yourself with this card and a photo ID) or sometimes even to enter buildings. But also outside the university you can get discounts in various recreational facilities (similar to the student ID).
What you will probably use your student ID for most often, besides the uses just mentioned, is as a semester ticket! This is printed on the back and allows you to travel with the public transport in the RMV area. You can find more info about the semester ticket itself in this chapter.
Be sure to check how long the ticket is valid. It is valid for the whole semester, but it is easy to oversleep the start of the semester and to be caught in the streetcar with an old student ID is annoying (especially if the new one is already on your desk at home).
In contrast, the Athene card has some electronic functions, which makes it the thickness of a normal credit card and you also only need to apply for one at the beginning of your studies (if lost, it will of course be replaced, but the replacement may cost a small fee). Diese personalisierte Karte kann für alle Studierenden und Mitarbeitende der TU Darmstadt ausgestellt werden. Ihr könnt sie an Aufladestationen in den Mensen, aber auch in der ULB am Campus Stadtmitte mit Geld aufladen.
This personalized card can be issued to all students and employees of the TU Darmstadt. You can load it with money at recharging stations in the refectories, but also at the ULB at Campus Stadtmitte.
You can use it for example to use the printers in the PC pools or to pay for your lunch in the Mensa. You should also get into the habit of the latter quickly, because food costs a bit more by cash and paying by Athene card is simply much faster. Occasionally you can also identify yourself electronically with the card, for example at the university stadium.
Finally, you use the Athene card as an ID at the ULB to borrow books and other media. With this card you can identify yourself at the circulation machines and thus borrow with the linked ULB account.
For more information on the Athene card and how to obtain it, please visit the University Computer Center.
Wait, wasn’t there just talk about two cards? Yes, but if you are studying medical technology, you will receive another card from Goethe University (keyword: cooperative study program).
The Goethe card is the equivalent of the Athene card, but for Goethe University and all its campuses. You can also load it with money and use it to pay in the refectory on the Frankfurt campuses. It also serves as a student ID (since medical technology is a cooperative study program, you are enrolled at both universities, so you have two student IDs). More information about the Goethe Card can be found here.
Regarding the semester ticket: Well, this is currently still a bit complicated. Students of medical engineering have to pay a higher semester fee, because the current agreement between AStA (who organize the semester ticket for us) and RMV says that in case of doubt of a double study the higher amount has to be paid. And since students of the Goethe-Uni have to pay more for the semester ticket than TU students1, you also pay more for the semester ticket. At least the areas of the ticket of the Goethe University are a bit bigger.
So what you need to do: Now it gets really crazy. In order to get the semester ticket of the Goethe-Uni, you first have to go to the Servicezentrum der Goethe Uni to validate your Darmstadt ticket (which you receive by mail every semester). After that you have to use the machines at one of the campuses of Goethe University (Location of the validators at Campus Niederrad) to validate your Goethe Card as a semester ticket (the Goethe Card has an area in the lower third that is always rewritten with the current ticket). And you currently still have to do this every semester2.
The reasoning seems to be that students in Frankfurt yes use the further developed public transport network of Frankfurt with subways and Co. what we have in Darmstadt so not. Strange reasoning, especially since it is allowed to travel in Frankfurt with both tickets? We think so too, and that’s why many people are working on it, so that you have to pay the normal amount for Darmstadt, too, but it might take a while, typical bureaucracy. ↩︎
Again, it only remains to say that not only you find this totally crazy and is being worked on so that this no longer runs so unnecessarily complicated. It remains to be seen. ↩︎