The three most popular destinations for students in 2009/10 were Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Spain sent the largest number of students abroad, followed by France and Germany. 61% of Erasmus students were female in the year in question. The EU invested € 415 million in Erasmus in 2009/10.
"The Erasmus programme is one of the great success stories of the European Union. The latest figures speak for themselves: Erasmus is more popular than ever and I am committed to securing more resources for it in future. Studying or training abroad opens doors to personal development and job opportunities so we are right to be ambitious when it comes to investing in our young people," said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Of the total number of students supported through Erasmus in 2009/10, 178 000 spent part of their degree programme abroad at a university or other higher education institution in one of 32 countries then participating in the Erasmus initiative (27 Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. Switzerland became the 33rd country to join Erasmus this year). The number of students choosing the study option increased by 5.7% compared with 2008/09.
A total of 1,273 Maltese students have been supported by Erasmus and these have been slowly on the increase from 92 in 2000/01 to 189 in 2009/10.
Work placements in companies abroad have been supported through Erasmus since 2007 and are increasingly popular. In 2009/10, 35 000 students (one in six of the total) chose this option. This represents a 17.3% increase on the previous year.
The average monthly Erasmus grant received by students fell by around 7% to €254, due to the increased numbers getting support. Demand strongly exceeds the availability of Erasmus grants in most participating countries. A study carried out for the European Parliament in 2010 stated that only 24% of non-Erasmus students reported not being interested in a study programme abroad.
In addition, 38 000 grants were awarded to university staff and teachers to teach or receive training abroad, 4% more than in the previous year.