07.06.2011
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ESU welcomes record number Erasmus but does not declare victory

BRUSSELS – The European Students Union (ESU) hails the new record number of Erasmus grants received, but it is not entirely satisfied yet. “The numbers might look good, and we need this surge of available grants, but let’s also invest in the quality and size of the grants in the next multi-annual financial framework for the Erasmus program so it becomes one of all European citizens and not only the elite.” said Bert Vandenkendelaere, Chairperson of ESU, in reaction to the report from the European Commission, published on 6 June.

The report says that a record number of 213.000 students received an Erasmus grant to follow a study abroad during the 2009/2010 academic year which is a 7.4% increase on the figures from the previous year. However, the average monthly Erasmus grant received by students fell by around 7% to €254, due to the increased numbers getting support. Vandenkendelaere: “The EU wants to obtain a student mobility of 20% by 2020 but at the moment does not provide enough financial means to reach this benchmark.” The EU spent €415 million euro on Erasmus grants in 2009/2010.

Vandenkendelaere: “Demand strongly exceeds the availability of Erasmus grants in most participating countries. The moment to change this around is now as member states are on the verge of adopting their new budget for the upcoming years. Around 76% of the European students would not be interested in spending a part of their studies abroad, as was stated in a study carried out for the European Parliament in 2010. The main reasons for that are limited funding, too small grants and recognition issues so we still have a long way to go.”

The three most popular destinations for students in 2009/2010 were the United Kingdom, France and Spain, the last one being the country sending the largest number of students abroad. Around 61% of the Erasmus students were female. Educational mobility is a key objective in the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs and one of the main emphasizes of the Youth on the Move initiative of the European Commission.–END–

Published: 7 June 2011

For more information, please contact:

Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson: +32473669892 or bert@esu-online.org
Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894 or marianne@esu-online.org

European Commission’s report on the Erasmus grants can be read here: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/sec670_en.pdf

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