What is Erasmus Plus?

All information correct as of June 2022

Since 1987, the Erasmus Plus programme has provided over 9 million students with the opportunity to experience a global education by wavering tuition fees and funding grants. The programme, named after Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, also stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. Founded by Franck Biancheri, these days it is managed and run by both the European Commission and participating national agencies.

Erasmus Plus works by providing free movement and education exchange between registered universities and institutions for eligible students so they can work or study abroad without the worry of financial burdens. If you’re not sure whether your education provider is involved in the Erasmus Plus programme, then make sure to get in touch with your careers or placements team to find out. The Erasmus scheme can last between 2 months to a year per cycle, but if you want to go on for longer you will need to reapply.

The Erasmus Plus programme has grown massively since its inception, starting with just 3,244 entrants in 1987, it now boasts around 300,000 participants annually with over 30 participating nations. About 90% of European Universities take part in the Erasmus scheme too, which gives participants a huge variation in choice of what locations and courses they would like to choose. With a budget of over €26 billion, eligible Erasmus applicants will more than likely receive the funding they need to work or study abroad.

What is Erasmus Plus?

Who is Eligible For Erasmus?

Firstly, to apply to join the Erasmus programme, you need to live in a participating country. You can find an up to date list of these nations on the official Erasmus website, but the majority of countries in the EU are involved plus a few others like Norway and Iceland. It's important that you find up to date information as the participating countries can change. For example, the UK will soon by withdrawing its participation in the programme and starting its own exchange programme called the Turing Scheme. Eligible candidates for the Erasmus Plus programme include:

  • Students and apprentices from higher education, vocational education and training institutions
  • Primary and secondary school students
  • Educational staff and trainers
  • Athletes

Students and apprentices from higher education, vocational education and training institutions are the main targets of the Erasmus Plus programme and make up the majority of the participants. The Erasmus Plus scheme is run through participating organisations, institutions and groups, and by enrolling in one of these education providers you can apply through them to join the Erasmus Plus programme. Other than being in an Erasmus partnered institution, as a candidate you need to have completed at least your first year of study and your internship or study abroad needs to be relevant to your degree.

Erasmus Programme

The Erasmus Plus programme aims to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. By supplying Erasmus Plus grants, the programme provides students with mobility and the opportunity to experience a global education. The Erasmus programme supports participants' free movement and education through funding, wavering tuition fees between institutions and improving their language skills with free lessons. Many European students credit Erasmus for massively improving their English language skills. Those choosing to study abroad will benefit from the European Credit Transfer System, which means that the academic credits you earn in your course while abroad will count towards your qualification. While those doing an internship will gain work experience, independence and boost their CVs.

Erasmus+ Grant

One of the main issues that puts students off studying or working abroad is the high costs of relocation. This includes the cost of travel, living and goods which may be too expensive on a student budget. The Erasmus Plus grant offers learning mobility opportunities by financing these costs, which allows students to focus on their education and development when living abroad. You can apply for the Erasmus Plus grant through the institution you're enrolled at. By reaching out to their Erasmus team, you can confirm your eligibility for the programme and receive the necessary forms to apply for the grant. Once you have successfully completed and returned these forms, then there will be around a month’s delay before you receive your funding. You receive around 70-80% of the funding in one lump sum at the beginning and the final 20-30% at the end of the programme.

If you're wondering how much funding you will receive from the grant, it varies based on the country you choose and how long you plan to spend abroad. Choosing a country with higher costs of living or a less popular Erasmus participating location will make you eligible for a higher grant. For an example of how much you might receive per destination:

  • Tier 1 Countries: Sweden, UK, Denmark etc.
    Study: €360-380 per month
    Internship: €500-520 per month
  • Tier 2 Countries: The Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain etc.
    Study: €300-320 per month
    Internship: €450-470 per month
  • Tier 3 Countries: Poland, Turkey, Croatia etc.
    Study: €240-260 per month
    Internship: €380-400 per month

To find a full list of EU countries and their funding, check out the latest Erasmus information on their website as the amount can change annually. You can find the full 2021-2022 Erasmus grant amount table here for reference. As it's a grant, the Erasmus funding does not need to be paid back, meaning participants don't need to worry about how much they receive, unlike a loan. For participants with physical, mental or health-related conditions, additional funding is available with Erasmus+ special needs support. These grants may be higher to offset the costs of extra difficulties like medical attendance and supportive equipment for those who need it.

What is Erasmus Plus?

Erasmus+ Internship

While many students in the Erasmus Plus programme will look to study abroad, Erasmus applicants are also given the opportunity to work abroad by undertaking an Erasmus Plus internship. Like studying, the variation of industry and location an Erasmus intern can choose to work in is huge. Erasmus traineeships can last between 2-12 months at participating institutions. Your work placement should be suitable for the course you are studying and your funding will vary depending on what country and the company you work in. Erasmus students doing an internship receive slightly more funding each month compared to those studying.

Unlike studying abroad, no tuition fees need to be waivered, although it is expected that your employers will train you and make an effort to help you personally develop during your time there. This will be monitored by the grant agreement you fill out at the start and end of your internship. To find participating internship providers, look on your university job board and websites like erasmusintern.org.

Erasmus Scholarship

The Erasmus Plus grant isn't the only funding you can receive from the programme, for certain students it is possible to qualify for an Erasmus scholarship. Students with exceptional academic performance, students studying for a master's and students from ‘third-country’ institutions have all been known to be accepted for an Erasmus scholarship. On top of the Erasmus Plus grant, the scholarship provides extra funding depending on the situation for costs like travel and health insurance.

Want to know if you're eligible for the Erasmus scholarship? Then be sure to check the up to date Erasmus scholarship guidelines to see if your circumstances will qualify you for it. If you believe you would qualify, reach out to your institution and send a full and timely application explaining why you deserve the scholarship. Unlike the Erasmus Plus grant, your chances of receiving this funding are much lower. But, it is worth applying just to make sure as any extra funding will help you on your Erasmus journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does the Erasmus scheme work?

  • The Erasmus Plus programme provides European students with the opportunity to experience a global education by wavering tuition fees and funding grants. The programme aims to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

  • How much money do you get for Erasmus?

  • The amount you receive from your Erasmus grant varies based on the country you choose and how long you plan to spend abroad. Choosing a country with higher costs of living or a less popular Erasmus participating location will make you eligible for a higher grant

  • Is Erasmus only for the EU?

  • The majority of countries in the EU are involved in the Erasmus Plus programme as well as a few others like Norway and Iceland, You can find an up to date list of these nations on the official Erasmus website as they are subject to change.

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