Earlier this month, we asked what role can education play in easing Europe’s crisis. This week the European Commission warned that the number of places offered to students under the Erasmus exchange programme may be reduced if a budgetary shortfall is not addressed.

The programme needs an additional €90 million to avoid substantial cuts to the number of places offered to students, or the size of their grants.

European Commission President Barroso said  in a statement issued on Wednesday:

These payments are essential to revive growth and create jobs throughout the EU. This is not about the Commission asking for more money but about member states honouring the commitments they have made to provide uninterrupted funding to students under Erasmus.

However, some member states wish to impose cuts on the EU’s annual budget to reflect the austerity programmes being adopted in several countries.

What do YOU think? Should Erasmus be saved, or should it adapt to today’s reality? Let us know your thoughts in the form below and we’ll take your comments to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

63 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Those mobility projects are straightforward shopping projects, and the focus on such mobility funded projects amazes me as they yield basically no results. On the other hand, several LLL projects that develop new educative material have yielded results that are used throughout Europe. I believe the focus is TOTALLY wrong with the new funding plans.

  2. avatar
    Antonio Ribeiro

    Saved. No doubt about that. Erasmus allow for students all accross Europe to know other european countries, to live their and to understand that we are not all the same, that our cultures have differences although we can – and we should – live together.

  3. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Yes of course Erasmus must keep,otherwise the Culture of Europe will be absent. For Teenagers can be able to visit throughout Europe only with Erasmus.So as they can be able to become an European.

  4. avatar
    Tiago Vidros

    Saved. Adding to everything said before, It increases students range of knowledge, and it allows them to understand certain things they wouldnt understand otherwise

  5. avatar

    Erasmus was the greatest experience I ever had. I honestly believe it should remain!!! It’s really important. Everyone should has the chance to leave abroad, especially in this period when fascism and racism is grown.

  6. avatar

    ERASMUS MUST BE SAVED! I’m on erasmus right now and it’s such a beautiful experience!! It’s not only about the party as most of the people think, it’s about meeting loads of new people that can show you very different points of view about life, it’s about knowing another culture and traditions, it’s about learning new languages by really practising them… It’s just the best year of your life…

  7. avatar
    Anna Lisa Trono

    Erasmus program and the experience that the students have with this program are very important for to develop new skills, new language. with erasmus program a lot students have a good opportunity for their future and the european system have a new competence and a very important exchange of know-how.
    i work with Erasmus and Mobility projects so i know and i touch with my hands alls the results that one students have in the last time of the training time.

  8. avatar

    Unfortunately, the program I have been following, is already gone. I hope the situation might change in the future.

  9. avatar
    Nikolaos Tokatlis

    Erasmus program has been opening minds and leading to a more unified Europe for three decates now. We may are in the middle of an economic crisis but that is no reason to cut the budget from education. Especially if we want to become some time in the future a real unified Europe, programs as Erasmus/LLP are essential to be maintained and even given more budget by the EU commission to programs like these. This is our future we are talking about and personally i want a better future, not going back.

  10. avatar
    Gabor Marosi

    I think Erasmus should be saved! It is an awesome program, gives a lot of opportunities to students. I have not been on erasmus yet, but I am working at ESN in Hungary, and I see how much this program can add to people’s lifes.

  11. avatar
    Karina Ufert

    Saved! Above all reasons, it has an enormous impact on improving quality of higher education, transferring good practices in organising learning process, improving student support services and more. Thanks to European cooperation in Higher education, students can see an alternative to a traditional classroom, where a teacher rules all show – students and teachers get to know, it can all be different.

  12. avatar
    Andreea Bindea

    only those who have been Erasmus students know how much this thing deserves to be saved, developed, and maintained properly. Is a one in a lifetime chance and everyone has the right to be part of it. Most of us know how amazing it is being Erasmus, how it makes you improve as an individual, experience new cultures, make new friends and learn!

  13. avatar

    It has been repeated ad nauseam that we are in a recession and shall therefore be ready to make sacrifices and quietly accept cuts and austerity measures. It’s true, if we want things to go back the way they were, we need to roll up our sleeves and work hard for it to happen, but not this way. Young Europeans represent the future of our continent, and their ideas and creativity represent a valuable asset for the EU. Programmes like the Erasmus were created for a reason: to broaden the horizons of countless young people and shaping their minds in the acceptance and -but also appreciation- of different cultures, in the respect of peace and solidarity -which after all, are the EU’s very own pillars-. Since the creation of the Erasmus programme, we can no longer identify students as simply British, French or Italian students: students who have had the opportunity to spend at least one semester in a foreign country are by all means children of Europe.

    Sacrifices should be about avoiding what is superficial, not about targeting the leaders of tomorrow. Because the institutions forget that, among those students, lie the future translators, journalists, bankers, lawyers; hell, even the future President of the European Union. We all get it though, times are though so things cannot be as sweet as they used to be, and that a hole of 90m can represent a serious struggle -although spending 1bn to build the new HQ of the ECB didn’t seem to be quite so tasking- therefore a compromise is needed.

    If cuts are to be made to the Erasmus programme -and I am talking about cuts because shutting down the entire programme is NOT an option-, there are only two ways in which it could go down:

    1. The number of places are cut, meaning that less will have the chance to spend a year abroad;

    2. Cutting the level of Erasmus grants, thus affecting students from poorer backgrounds.

    I have stated this countless times on many forums and interviews -mostly concerning the tuition fees rise of British universities-: Education should be a privilege for all those motivated students which play an active role in the society they live in. My views on Erasmus are much the same, as in only those who are actually interested in experiencing a new culture should be given the chance. Consequentially, I believe that a good compromise would be imposing a concours for those who wish to participate in the programme.

    I am instead utterly against the second path to reduce the financial weight of the Erasmus programme. As I have previously stated, education should be a privilege: such privilege though should not be established on a disposable income basis -like British Universities as of this academic year- simply because it’s just wrong -no other way of putting this-.

  14. avatar

    honestly, guys.
    Have you ever thaught about all the positive effects a semester abroad has?? Getting to know new people from different cultures and religions makes people much more tollerant towards others!
    Also it strengthens the students in confidence and their language skills.
    One more of the thousands of positive aspects is that the students of today are the one which may rule the world a couple of years later and all these experiences they make with a different culture for example helps them to be more open and tollerant towards new challenges and people with other opinions.
    Sure they could do all that alone but ERASMUS supports them so much and doing all that alone discourages so many people and they probably miss the best and most instructive time of their lives!
    Let us not forget their dreams!

  15. avatar
    Kris Duda

    The Erasmus programme in it’s current form is discriminating and ineffective. For students of many subjects the programme is closed or not possible to work, because of the differences between the study curriculum. Also it is unfair that with the amount of budget put to the programme the universities are actually not required to prepare any specific programme or project.

    I think the student exchange programme is good, but more attention should be put to the quality of the exchange. Make it project based, take an example from the projects in “Youth in Action”. Think how to make it effective, cause for now it’s nothing more than a cheap travel agency that allows young people to take holidays in another country.

  16. avatar
    Kris Duda

    The Youth in Action has a smaller budget, has more participants and allows the same outcomes for the young people. That’s why I think ERASMUS should be thought over.

    • avatar

      @Kris Duda Sorry for the double comment, but I only just realised the existence of a ‘Reply’ button. You are right, there should definitely be more integration between the university curricula across Europe (I am experiencing this myself, being in France for my year abroad).

  17. avatar

    @Kris Duda You are right, there should definitely be more integration between the university curricula across Europe (I am experiencing this myself, being in France for my year abroad).

  18. avatar
    Filip Slavchev

    I think that stopping the Erasmus programme will mean cutting off a vital part of what we use to call “Europe”. Because Europe is not only a continent or a convention of countries with the single object of being a united economic, social and cultural body of state, it is us and our life is conducted to some point by what we’ve learned and experienced during our Erasmus period. Don’t handicap Europe’s youth by scrapping Erasmus!

  19. avatar

    It seems reasonable to ask that participants – gaining so much as they do from the Erasmus experience, and given that such students are the future affluent middle class – to make a larger personal contribution.

    It would be worth considering whether the limited Erasmus funds could be leveraged to achieve greater positive impact: by providing guaranteed low-interest loans to all participants, rather than meeting the entirity of expenses.

    Such a change might better achieve the goals of Erasmus: larger numbers of students, greater access, a higher standard of living for participants from lower income backgrounds, achieving a more equitable allocation of EU expenditure… and all at the same time as freezing the Erasmus budget for the duration of national austerity.

    Erasmus must be defended – greater mobility of the next generation is crucial for Europe’s success. But in a protracted recession and under a constrained budget, Erasmus funds must be used more efficiently in promotion of these objectives: abandon grants, and switch to a system of guaranteed low-interest cost-of-living loans.

    • avatar

      You have a point, but many students are already on a loan at their home universities. Think of the British situation: students will already borrow up to £27,000 (or up to £45,000 if on a 5 year degree) barring living costs, and some of them will be paying back such loans for the entirety of their 30year working life. Could they really afford to carry the financial burden of an umpteenth loan?

  20. avatar

    Is not new that education is the basic pillar of a society. As a former Erasmus student, I can’t believe that someone somewhere can still ask if Erasmus grants should be saved or not.
    I finished my bachelor degree on electronics like Erasmus student in Florence, Italy.
    I won’t discuss the quality of the education and the academic benefits that this experience can imply, because it will depend on where you came from and where are you placed that year.
    But something that all Erasmus Students without exception learn, is to not be afraid. Not being afraid to ask, to learn, to met new cultures, to work with different people, to try to understand other people points of view, to be critic, to speak more languages…
    Erasmus placement helps you learning stuff that is not teach any university in Europe.
    Why should Erasmus grants should be saved? Because the teach students how to be better human beings in very different levels, better professionals, and better Europeans, if it has to be said. If Europe is meant to be a diverse community working homogeneously, looking forward a common benefit, investing money in students to let them learn how to do it, is the beginning of the way to go.
    And it would be one of the most profitable investments among all the possibilities.

  21. avatar
    Jason Deegan

    Well if the EU is serious about integration across all European states its is simple that this should be saved to give young people the chance to meet people from different areas and studying in the same discipline and thus foster more integration among EU countries, For me as an Irish Citizen in the midst of a recession and seeing the threat to Education here I see it as rather ridiculous that some officials think the way to get out of this recession is to limit the potential of its citizens, Its a simple question, which deserves a simple answer ” Save it + Enlarge it” as a great Irish writer once said ” You can never be overdressed or over-educated.” – Oscar Wilde.

  22. avatar
    Ján Drela

    If the EU really cares about young people and their future and actually its own future, then the EU should do everything to save it. If not, then I do not see the future of the EU optimistically given that that first and foremost youth is its future. Money neither unites people, nor makes them more European. On the contrary, programme like Erasmus certainly has contributed to that. It is sad that the EU leaders do not show courage for its save.

  23. avatar

    Dear EU,

    What if you put all your administration at one place, instead of wasting money to keep your people travelling between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxemburg. And then we can talk again! ;)

  24. avatar

    SAVE! I haven’t done my Erasmus yet, but I’ve been expecting it for years and I’ve waited until my last year in the university to enjoy this experience in the best way . I need to do it because here, in my country, there is a lot of pesimism about the UE and I need to know by myself that there are reasons in Europe to carry on all together.

  25. avatar

    I consider it should be saved.

    I didn’t have the chance to benefit from it, because the French organisation in many public universities is such that my application got lost 3 times at the administration (once after pre-approval of the foreign university).

    Because of that I decided to enroll, with the agreement of universities, on my own, and at my expense. As such, 5 years later, I am still paying back the loan that covered the costs of my first semester.

    So I think it should be kept but only under a few conditions:
    1. The number of places available and the grants should be more adapted (in France some universities send all their students, some none of them ; depending on the country of origin and destination some receive grants twice or 3 times bigger than their needs when others receive grants to cover 20% of their expenses)
    2. Many students do Erasmus for “holidays”. Ok it’s cool we all enjoy holidays, me the first, but I think students should have an obligation of presence in class and more monitoring on the results (like the French scolarships system, students who are not attending are asked to pay back all the money they received)
    3. Reduce the functionning costs by implementing more “one-time online application”
    4. Give more importance to the motivation (do not give grants to students who will pick London for shopping, or Lithuania for girls, alcohol and unexpensive life) and the project of the student
    5. Consider different level of grants according to the social origin (do not grant hundreds of euros per months to children of millionaires when it is proved they receive thousands from their parents, do not offer a too low grant for some countries that would block access for the “poorest” students
    6. Open more doors to student, by letting enter in the program students who were not accepted for the grant but would still appreciate to benefit from a study agreement without having to pay tution fees in 2 countries.

    Here’s my opinion, Erasmus needs restructuring, but it should never be reduced, because it’s an experience of a lifetime for all the students who take part in it, and it’s essential for the European construction.

    • avatar

      I couldn’t explain this better myself. Thanks for your opinion.

  26. avatar

    Erasmus must be saved. It helps to find a job and gives a possibility to experience one of the most important adventure one might have – study abroad.

  27. avatar
    Susanne Hauser

    Oh please keep it going! The news just got round within schools and universities that there are these programs – and my language students at 6th form are so excited about it! This is a peace building program and so worth continuing!!

  28. avatar
    Ankit Khandelwal

    Coming from a different continent, I could not agree more than all the comments above. I am from India and studied in Denmark, and have seen Erasmus Students and their life deeply. I love the idea of creation of European Union and you can consider me as friends of Europe. In my view, Erasmus should be saved as this is one of the most unique program in the world. I was so impressed with this program that I have even suggested adopting something like this in India to bridge the state wise gaps we have now.

    There is no doubt that Erasmus brings lot of benefits to students and Europe needs this program. But it is necessary to be realistic and adhere to the current climate. Erasmus program needs reform in its current shape to keep pace with the competition from other parts of the world, to keep Europe stay competitive and innovative.

    But many of the comments above are more based on intuition than some factual or realistic overview. I like to point out some of my take on Erasmus:

    1. The current Erasmus does not serve all the students. Not everyone can get on board, so there is a need to include everyone on board, somehow, someway.

    2. The quality of education in Europe is not homogenous, varying considerably from North to South. Though, there is a collaboration between governments, real efforts needed for collaboration among universities to uplift standard of Education. Erasmus can give better results if all of the universities have equal and good standard of education.

    3. I have spoken to some of my friends and to me it looks like for them Erasmus is mostly about parties in another country, a kind of paid vacation. They do not anything about being an European or brotherhood and such people, might be less in numbers are not good for the program. May be some level of academic progress put on students will be good.

    4. Promoting yearly exchange than semester can work very well in my view. For example, it takes some time to settle down in new place, understanding new system and country. I believe, one semester is a very less time for all of this (in some countries semester is very short, just 3 months). So an yearly exchange can work much better.

    From a friend of Europe :)

  29. avatar
    Diogo Oliveira

    Erasmus has to be saved! If EU wants to make some cuts, start with the differences between the scholarships!
    Is unacceptable the discrepancies of scholarships of different countries. I was Erasmus student and i saw these discrepancies.
    How is possible see scholarships of 600 or 700? and i had to leave with less than 170 ? per month without dormitory in foreign country..
    I think thats it what EU has to think in this programme, because Erasmus should be for everybody not for some people..
    And to finish my opinion Erasmus is one of the best programmes that contribute not only to trip or to be in parties, but for students see new cultures and maybe new destinies for get a job.

  30. avatar
    Carla Chinita

    I think Erasmus should continue because it allows students to move to other countries and learn another cultures and languages and experiences while studying and face the real life in another countrie and be aware of the international reality.

    • avatar

      Face the real life? Does an Erasmus face the REAL life when he has money from the program and from his parents? Does he face what it is to look for job opportunities? For developing new skills? What an Erasmus student faces if he never had left his home before is nothing more and nothing less than how to prepare his own food and wash his dishes. Sometimes not even that, because of the residence.

  31. avatar
    Matija Jeras

    eu shouldn’t be thinking in any other way then in the saving one, erasmus is the best thing that ever hapened to europeans

  32. avatar
    Erkut Ateş

    Definatly saved.Because Erasmus experiences are the best.Studying in another country, get to know about their culture and share with others yours.. if EU will scrapp this programme they will make huge mistake and the young people will be angry all over !

  33. avatar
    Viola Briatková

    are eurocrats willing to cut their salaries to half? then it can be saved. if they are not willing, then will be not saved. so easy it is.

  34. avatar
    Ivan Ivanov

    Scrapping programs like Erasmus, by my oppinion, means scrapping EU as a project or at least postponing it to “better times”, because in order to fulfill our “European dream” we’ll need new generation of experts.
    These people should be able to understand the hudge diversity of socioeconomical conditions we face, the difference in cultural, psychological and natural backgrounds etc. in order to be able to communicate with their colleagues abroad, formulate effective new policies and resolve the immense problems which we are about to meet building our common future.
    Thus in fact we need more inititives like Erasmus thowing bridges between us, promoting mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation, destorying old prejudices and building new close relations on their place.

  35. avatar
    Peter Schellinck

    Erasmus as such should be enhanced. Schools and industry should be more integrated and the EU must finance this process which would result in a job for a degree guarantee.

  36. avatar
    Davey Brown

    If Europhiles consider it a good thing then it must be unspeakably awful. Get rid of it and then get rid of the EU… thats how to safeguard the future of our children.

  37. avatar

    If whole European union is not intended as just something unreal, something built only on political and economic base with benefits for the chosen, but it is thought to be something what will be put all of us together, something what mean solidarity, coherence and friendly relationship between all our nations (what is claimed and declared by politics all the time), then the Erasmus programme is point where everything can start, I mean, in relation with young people for most of Erasmus creates the first possibility to live in another country, to live with other people from different countries of different culture, language, opinions or even religion. And that first contact of youngs becomes really important towards the future. Future, which can be statuted on tolerance and mutual cooperation because no state “lives” alone in our world. And who else than young generation are the most essential factor for the future? I am a former Erasmus student and honestly I can say I still unbelievably appreciate my chance to join that programme. Maybe it is too soon for me to say how much Erasmus´ve influenced my life, but I am sure it´s been the best experience so far, in this “school of life” I´ve learn a lot and my point of view concerning with many things has become changed. But, this is not just about individual and subjective improvements. Respect, tolerance, love and friendship with anyone not depends on nationality, language, skin colour, religion or specific customs and other irrelevant differences between particular nations is valuable for all of us and our common coexistence. Not just within our European Union, but actually within all nationalities across the whole world. Please, save Erasmus and then our future and future of next generations can be saved as well.

  38. avatar
    Kris Duda

    The same results as with Erasmus (or sometimes better) can be achieved with the European Voluntary Service and with Youth Exchanges, and the costs of them are much lower.

    I was talking to a person who knows the numbers and generally Erasmus with a ten times higher budget than Youth in Action, has ten times lower number of participants. The results presented by the participants of both programmes are similar and what is surprising – only a minority of the Erasmus participants suggested that the exchanged helped them in their studies.

  39. avatar
    Palma Muñoz Morquilla

    It´s paradoxical than in the 25 th anniversary of this programme “example of the good Europe” we face with this dilema: Save or scrapped. Of course save it. The new generations merit the same opportunities we enjoyed 20 years ago.

    But to be realistic with the times we are living, I make this proposal: why instead of scrapping the programme or cutting the fundings for the exchanges, they give this unique and fabolous opportunity to the students who have worked hard to merit this prize? I mean if there isn´t enough budget, it should be given to the best students, the ones that are going to take advantage of this great opportunity. I think “it´s not good to give coffee for everyone”.

  40. avatar
    Alexandra Duval

    Of course it should be saved! Why do people want to stamp out any semblance of tradition in the world?

  41. avatar
    Rita Luzi

    But of course it has to be saved! How could European countries be joined together otherwise? The differences between the different european cultures can be a point of strenght only if faced in this way: education, personal growth and open-mind though. If only even the half of the eurocrats were willing to reduce their salaries…

  42. avatar

    Saved definitely! It is an amazing experience, an opportunity that the students can take advantage: learn a new language from natives, living in other country, make local friends and also from other countries. I totally agree with Palma Muñoz Morquilla.

  43. avatar

    Hi to All,

    I am on my Erasmus Exchange right now and it is a topic that tortures me a lot lately, so I should share my opinion with you guys.

    You see, it is all about what you seek. What do you want to achieve from an Erasmus Exchange? Is it a better educational level? Is it to meet professors that will change your point of viewing your degree or even your view of life? Is it to participate in student’s associations that the university you are going to offers? Is it to enroll yourself in work experience programs that does not exist in your home university, town or even in your country? Is it to do a proper and much better investigation in your masters degree? Is it to search for future work opportunities that are not achievable in your country? Is it about looking for the right people that can be an example for you? Or is it all about going away from your parent’s control to experience a way of life you were restricted to do or even prohibited? Is it about “payed vacations” like someone said in his comments abouve. You sould think well what is that you want and in what kind of experience you want to invest before taking any decision.

    Don’t just describe the Erasmus with beautiful but general words: know another country, meet new people, enjoy, learn new language… What kind of an Erasmus ACADEMIC experience are you heading to if you do not have the suffiecient knowladge of the language to follow your classes?

    Most of the people say that Erasmus it is important for the integration between the different EU countries. Lets face the facts like they are: the majority of the students you will meet at the university you are going to, will stick together and will follow their own rhythm of life which, believe me, will be very different from yours. So, in the end, Erasmus students end up going out and gathering with people that are from their own country or with other Erasmus students, but still, people that are NOT from the country they do the Erasmus. So the part of “experiencing the traditional way of life of the host country” fades away… So does the learning of the new language…

    Are all the Erasmus students like this. No. But 90% are and what is more preoccupying is that this is the common concept of an Erasmus Exchange. Does this mean that Erasmus should be scrapped? Not necessarly, but it is to be considered if the result of the program has to do with the goals of the program.

    To my opinion, there must be preparation sessions to guide the students before their decision and topics like cultural shock, ways of managing your own budget, possible academic differences, ways of dealing with possible disintegration at the beginning must be discussed.

    If the goal is to make a positive impact in the academic life of the students that go on Erasmus and make possible for them to leave a positive trace in the country they are heading to, the Erasmus program must deal with all the issues that appear throughout the whole process. Otherwise, it is just giving money to an unprepared person to spend his “payed vacation”.


  44. avatar
    Zlatko Savic

    saved and hope that will grow, all programs will be grouped under the ERASMUS FOR ALL

  45. avatar

    I have been erasmus in Iceland during 2011 – 2012, and I think the Erasmus program should continue, but with some changes. It involves choosing the best students and that his spirit is to help create European feeling, and succeeds.
    While both are true, I would not do extend to family, friends, neighbors, … to those who clean the Erasmus portal before going to the host university, because they may not have the same profile as the student in question.
    The human capital of the country / continent would have to take care of, or at least respect.

    Here my post – erasmus blog, written in Spanish, but there is a tab to translate on the right side of the screen.

  46. avatar

    I have been erasmus in Iceland during 2011 – 2012, and I think the Erasmus program should continue, but with some changes. It involves choosing the best students and that his spirit is to help create European feeling, and succeeds.
    While both are true, I would not do extend to family, friends, neighbors, … to those who clean the Erasmus portal before going to the host university, because they may not have the same profile as the student in question.
    The human capital of the country / continent would have to take care of, or at least respect.

    Here my post – erasmus blog, written in Spanish, but there is a tab to translate on the right side of the screen:

  47. avatar

    Saved, of course…. The importance of Erasmus period in a student career is inestimable!

  48. avatar
    Brian Kim

    Young people is important for Europe.

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