"The Erasmus programme, whose silver anniversary we are celebrating this year, is one of the biggest success stories of the European Union. The figures speak for themselves – and would have been even higher if we had the resources to match demand. In these difficult times, the skills gained through Erasmus studies and placements are more valuable than ever," said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Of the total number of students supported in 2010-11, around 190 000 chose to spend up to 12 months of their degree programme abroad at a university or other higher education institution in one of 32 countries then participating in Erasmus (27 Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. Switzerland became the 33rd country to join Erasmus as from 2011-12). The number of students choosing the study option increased by 7.2% compared with 2009-10.
Job placements in companies abroad have been supported through Erasmus since 2007 and are increasingly popular. In 2010-11, one in six Erasmus students, nearly 41 000 in total, chose this option. This represents a 15% increase on the previous year.
Demand strongly exceeds the availability of Erasmus grants in most participating countries. The average monthly Erasmus grant, designed to cover part of the additional costs of living abroad and travel, was GBP 202 (Euro 250) - a small decrease on the previous year (GBP 205/Euro 254), which allowed more students to benefit from the programme.
In addition, 40 000 grants were awarded to university staff and teachers to teach or receive training abroad, 13% more than in the previous year.
All amounts expressed in sterling are approximate and will change with exchange rate fluctuations.