Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : Erasmus Anniversary Leads to Calls for Increased Funding

Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : Erasmus Anniversary Leads to Calls for Increased Funding

Article excerpt

The EU's Erasmus programme for student and teacher mobility is approaching its 20th anniversary, and the European Commission decided to start the celebrations early, with a launch event in Brussels on 7 December.

Education Commissioner Jan Figel' emphasised that the EU executive's ambitions for the programme are growing. Its intentions are that a total of three million students will have participated in Erasmus by 2012, a significant task given that the current figure stands at roughly 1.5 million.

LOW INCOME

Within this total, another major aim is to increase the proportion of students coming from lower income backgrounds that get involved. A recent Commission study into Erasmus indicated that 50% of students regard their financial difficulties as a real obstacle for involvement, and during the press conference Figel' admitted that participation from low income groups remains "weak," and that "the Erasmus grant remains far too low to allow students from less favourable backgrounds to enjoy the benefits".

Both Figel' and Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso drew attention to the greatly increased financial resources that will be available for Erasmus in the coming years. Erasmus will account for around 40% of the new Lifelong Learning programme that will operate during the 2007-2013 period - equivalent to around 3 billion, marking a tripling compared to total funding under the last budget cycle.

One of the consequences of this is that the Commission feels it can set a realistic target that the average Erasmus grant provided from the EU budget will rise to 200 per student per month by 2012. …

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