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Erasmus university exchanges – record-breaking year - 19/08/2014

Four university students sit in the park looking over notebooks

Nearly 270,000 students from across Europe took part in the EU's Erasmus exchange programme in 2012-13, the highest number in its 27-year history.

Erasmus enables European students to spend up to a year in a foreign country, either studying or on a work placement. Under the scheme, students do not pay tuition fees at their host university and are awarded a grant to help cover the cost of living abroad.

And beyond students, Erasmus also allows academics, higher education staff and businesspeople to go abroad for teaching or training, for up to 6 weeks.

More than 269,000 students participated in 2012-13 - 15,000 more than the previous year - alongside over 52,000 higher education staff.

On average, Erasmus students spent just over 6 months studying abroad and received a grant of €253 a month. The most popular destinations to study were Spain, Germany and France, while the UK was chosen for work placements.

The programme covers every EU country, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia joined this year.

Gaining experience

Spending time abroad helps students broaden their experience and gives them opportunities to increase their employability, while academics can bring home valuable experience to improve the quality of their teaching.

Currently, some 10% of EU students study or train abroad and the EU aims to double that by 2020.

In September, it will publish its first study into the impact of Erasmus on employability for young people. In 2012-13, 500 businesspeople taught abroad under Erasmus, highlighting the improved links between the worlds of work and education.


This year sees the launch of an expanded programme - Erasmus+ - which will provide grants for 4 million people, including 2 million higher education students, over the next 7 years.

It also includes similar schemes for apprentices and volunteers and provides additional support for people with special needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds and remote areas.

The programme is named after the philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), who travelled all over Europe in quest of knowledge, experience and insights.

Press release - record-breaking year for Erasmus

Erasmus 2012-13 - the figures explained

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