Erasmus hits new record with 8.5% increase in student exchanges
Brussels, May 2012 - Twenty-five years after its launch, Erasmus has become the best known EU programme and the most successful student exchange scheme in the world. More than 231 000 students received Erasmus grants to study or train abroad during the 2010-11 academic year – a new record and an 8.5% increase compared to the previous year. With its focus on languages, adaptability, inter-cultural awareness and leadership, Erasmus provides young people with vital skills to boost their employability and personal development. Since it began in 1987, the programme has provided more than 2.5 million European students with the opportunity to go abroad to study at a higher education institution or for a job placement in a company. On current trends, the European Union will reach its target of supporting 3 million Erasmus students by 2012-13.
The three most popular destinations for students in 2010-11 were Spain, France and Germany. Spain also sent the largest number of students abroad, followed by France and Germany. Luxembourg sent the largest number of students abroad as a proportion of the national student population. The 2010-11 Erasmus budget dedicated to student and staff mobility was around €460 million.
"The Erasmus programme, whose silver anniversary we are celebrating this year, is one of the biggest success stories of the European Union. The figures speak for themselves – and would have been even higher if we had the resources to match demand. In these difficult times, the skills gained through Erasmus studies and placements are more valuable than ever," said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Of the total number of students supported in 2010-11, around 190 000 chose to spend up to 12 months of their degree programme abroad at a university or other higher education institution in one of 32 countries then participating in Erasmus (27 Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. Switzerland became the 33rd country to join Erasmus as from 2011-12). The number of students choosing the study option increased by 7.2% compared with 2009-10.
Job placements in companies abroad have been supported through Erasmus since 2007 and are increasingly popular. In 2010-11, one in six Erasmus students, nearly 41 000 in total, chose this option. This represents a 15% increase on the previous year.
Demand strongly exceeds the availability of Erasmus grants in most participating countries. The average monthly Erasmus grant, designed to cover part of the additional costs of living abroad and travel, was €250 - a small decrease on the previous year (€254), which allowed more students to benefit from the programme.
In addition, 40 000 grants were awarded to
university staff and teachers to teach or receive training abroad, 13%
more than in the previous year.