EU: Double up on Erasmus program

Nieuws | de redactie
23 november 2011 | The European Commission proposed a 70% budget increase for the Erasmus exchange program totaling €19 billion. Up to 5 million students, scholars and teachers would benefit from this. The European Students’ Union meanwhile remains critical over the Commission’s loan scheme.

The European Commission (EC) put forward a proposal to significantly expand the Erasmusexchange program. From 2014 on, the budget for this EU subsidizedexchange program should be increased by 70% to a total of €19billion. Goal is to offer 2 million higher education students, 700000 vocational students and nearly one million teachers theopportunity to participate in the Erasmus program.

This budget proposal will now be discussed by the EuropeanCouncil and the European Parliament representing all 27 memberstates. Only recently, the EC announcedto use the Erasmus program as a means to foster democratization ofcountries like Egypt and Tunisia affected by the Arab Spring.

Loan guarantee scheme for 330.000 Masterstudents

In addition to that, the EC worked out plans together with theEuropean Investment Bank Group to create a loan guarantee schemeproviding funds to 330.000 Master students that want to completetheir studies abroad. Allan Päll, Chairman of the EuropeanStudents’ Union (ESU), criticized this loan approach in a recentScienceGuide publication.

Commenting on the EC proposal, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissionerfor Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said that”studying abroad boosts people’s skills, personal development andadaptability, and makes them more employable. We want to ensurethat many more people benefit from EU support for theseopportunities. We also need to invest more to improve the qualityof education and training at all levels so we are a match for thebest in the world and so that we can deliver more jobs and highergrowth.”

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