Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : 2008-2009 Peak Period for Erasmus

Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : 2008-2009 Peak Period for Erasmus

Article excerpt

The European Commission published new figures, on 21 June, showing that a record number of students went abroad for studies and company placements under the EU's Erasmus programme during the academic year 2008-2009. According to the figures, a total of 198,600 students went to one of the 31 countries (EU member states plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Turkey) participating in the Erasmus programme, reflecting a 8.7% increase on the previous academic year.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, described the figures as "a true European success story" and stated that Erasmus was making "learning mobility the rule rather than the exception".

The record numbers reflect a 12% increase in the budget available for students in the 2008-2009 academic year, which also led to an increase in the average monthly grant received by students, rising from 255 to 272. The biggest increase was registered in the amount of students going to another country for placements in businesses and other organisations, an opportunity offered by Erasmus since 2007. This saw an increase of more than 50% in the 2008-2009 academic year, representing 30,400 students.

Further increases were seen in staff mobility, with the Erasmus programme supporting more than 36,000 exchanges of staff from higher education institutions, a 13.6% increase from the previous academic year. The countries sending the highest numbers of Erasmus students were France (28,300), Germany (27,900) and Spain (27,400). …

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