In Europe, Student services are provided by Studentenwerke, higher education institutions, foundations, ministries, public agencies, and even by students themselves. Structures and institutions can be very different according to the history of higher education and student services in each European country, but the tasks and challenges are often the same.
It is for this reason that Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW), together with partners from France and Belgium, founded the ECStA in 1999. At the European level, the ECStA unites more than 20 partners from 15 countries to lobby for:
- further development of the social dimension of higher education
- the exchange of information, experience and ideas in the area of student affairs and services
- international student mobility and exchange
Deutsches Studentenwerk shares ECStA's vision of providing strong, effective services for students in the European higher education area, of strengthening the social dimension of higher education and thereby exploiting the diversity of different approaches, models and structures for mutual learning and joint action.
The ECStA focuses its activities on the funding of studies, student accommodation, catering services, counselling and advisory services, and cultural work. It also organises conferences and colloquia, and conducts studies and surveys as well as culture and exchange projects for both students and staff.
The ECStA also advises bodies such as European institutions and UNESCO on issues relating to the social dimension of the European higher education area.