Erasmus+ is a university programme of the European Union that has been encouraging encounters of students, university lecturers and university personnel from different countries since 1987. All 27 countries of the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Turkey participate in Erasmus+.
After the first year of studies, the Erasmus+ programme enables students to spend between three to 12 months at a foreign host university. It is possible to be sponsored until graduation.
Erasmus+ has the following advantages:
- Exemption of tuition fees:
One advantage of the ERASMUS+ Programme is that there are no tuition fees to be paid at the host university. The base to that are cooperation contracts between institutes/faculties the home and host university
- Mobility grant:
This funding supports mobility. It aims to compensate the expenses that emerge while studying abroad: The funding varies depending on the State and year of studies.
- Recognition of degree:
The academic work done at the partner university is approved by the host university in the “Transcript of Records”. The majority of Europe’s universities are using the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System).
- Going abroad several times with Erasmus+:
Since the academic year of 2014/15 student can participate more than once in the programme. For each part of your studies (BA /MA / PhD) you are allowed up to 12 months of funding (studies as well as internships).
Erasmus+ between 2021 and 2027
The European Union has renewed and extended the Erasmus+ program as part of the long-term EU-budget 2021-2027. The new Erasmus+ program foresees modernization of existing conditions, internationalization of study programs as well as contributing at the same time to the attractiveness of European universities.
The budget will be doubled within the agreement on Erasmus+ between 2021 and 2027, compared to the previous period. The sum for the seven-year timeframe is more than €26 billion.
The newly designed time period for the program sends a strong signal for the cooperation and further development of student mobility. The new generation of the program is based on inclusivity, sustainability, and digitization. Based on these three pillars new types of activities were developed: Erasmus+ Digital, Erasmus+ Green and Erasmus+ Social Participation.
The Erasmus+ Digital program is an initiative for further digitization and for strengthening the network connection between European universities. The aim is to facilitate the admission process by exchanging data easier and faster. In the future, documents and certificates will no longer be created on paper, but digitally via the „Erasmus Without Paper“ Network.
The new program part Erasmus+ Green concentrates on the sustainability aspects of Erasmus. It shall support in the recognition of the sustainability goals, climate protection and environmental policy. Through higher sensibility of the students to the topics it helps to reduce CO2-emissions created by Erasmus+ activities. Therefore, environmental friendly means of transport are supported.
The big news is also the Erasmus+ Social Participation. The foreign experience at one of the European universities offers not only positive moments but also enrichment for biographies, labor market chances, and a chance to increase foreign language skills. Therefore, terms such as inclusion and equal opportunities are important parts of the student exchange agenda within the EU.
It is of decisive importance to promote diversity, to be more tolerant towards others, raising the awareness of equality and active political participation to shape the European Union in the future as a cosmopolitan and democratic institution based on the common European cultural heritage.
Erasmus+ and Apprentices
Additionally to the educational opportunities for European students, which exist already for more than 30 years, the EU offers the opportunity aimed at the professional mobility of trainees and apprentices. They are enabled to acquire work skills abroad through international work experience, which is funded as part of the Erasmus + program.
The main objective is to improve individual skills, to further emphasize the quality and strength of European educational institutions, and to promote the development of the existing educational area for apprentices. The funding opportunities for learning mobility have increased significantly. The activities of the training institutions open up new approaches for numerous groups, such as trainees, vocational school students, and educators who can participate in foreign exchange. Depending on the specific rules and regulations, the duration of such an adventure can last up to twelve months.
Erasmus + and Brexit
Despite the UK leaving the EU, UK universities and students would have had the opportunity to take part in Erasmus +-Program. However, the British government decided not to participate in the Erasmus + program anymore, but to set up its own exchange program. The decision led to a deep disappointment shared by many universities and students across the European Union.
British students will therefore no longer be able to claim the status of an EU student and the above-mentioned benefits for exchange students will no longer apply. In particular, this can mean increasing tuition fees and the obligation to apply for a visa for a longer stay within the EU. The conditions for the residence permit are regulated by every EU-member state.
Success of Erasmus+
To measure the success of the Erasmus+ program, it is necessary to look back at the statistics that illustrate the number of students involved in the program.
The student exchange has almost doubled in the period between 2014 and 2020. This was possible thanks to the budget of 14.7 billion euros. The financial increase in the budget allowed 3.7% of all students in Europe to take part in the program.
In the period from 2014 to 2020, two million students benefited from the chance offered by Erasmus+. Almost 800,000 professors and educational professionals had the opportunity to acquire new skills at universities abroad through Erasmus funding. More than 135,000 students and teachers have both gone beyond European borders and there have been many of them who have come to Europe.
Coming from eleven countries that agreed to implement the Erasmus program in 1987, the scope has expanded to 33 (EU member states, as well as countries of former Yugoslavia such as North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as Turkey, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).