Erasmus+ is the new EU umbrella programme for education, training, youth and sport from 2014 to 2020. It brings together all the existing education and training programmes as well as the Youth in Action Programme, and adds sport, for the first time in an EU programme. Having a single, simplified programme should make management more transparent and easier, ensure swifter access to funding and reduce administrative costs.
The aim is to foster learning mobility in Europe, institutional exchanges and cooperation between educational institutions, businesses, youth organisations, local and regional authorities and NGOs, and promote policy reform in all three fields covered by the new programme.
More than four million young people will be eligible for funding to study, train, carry out volunteer work or take part in youth or sports activities in an EU country other than their own during the programme's seven-year period.
Young people from the age of 13 to 30 will be able to go abroad to study at university, take up a traineeship or an apprenticeship or work as an assistant. They will also be able to teach or gain professional experience in another EU country.
Leaders of youth clubs and other youth workers will be able to get funding for exchanges, training and networking activities. Young people taking part in voluntary work, including through the European Voluntary Service, will also get support under Erasmus+.
Funding will also be available for young people and volunteers going abroad to take part in sporting activities, particularly those aimed at boosting social inclusion and at combatting doping, intolerance and discrimination.
The new programme will have three main pillars:
In the field of education and training, all the current programmes will keep their brand names, as they are well known to the public and to beneficiaries:
- Comeniusfor school education activities;
- Erasmus for all types of higher education;
- Erasmus Mundusfor all types of higher education activity at international level;
- Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training; and
- Grundtvigforadult learning.
In the field of youth, the new Youth in Action Programme will support mobility opportunities for young people, those active in youth work or youth organisations and youth leaders. The programme is aimed at helping young people, including those with fewer opportunities, to improve key competences and skills and at improving social inclusion and solidarity, in particular through individual mobility programmes.
Erasmus+ devotes a whole section to sport for the first timein a European programme. The focus will be on grassroots sport and the aim is to tackle threats to the integrity of sport that cut across national borders, such as doping, match-fixing and violence, as well as all types of intolerance and discrimination.
The overall budget for the new Erasmus+ programme totals €14 774 524 000 for the period 2014 to 2020. This is an increase of about 47% compared to the total amount allocated to all the current education, learning and youth programmes for the period from 2007 to 2013. Additional funding for higher-education students going to or coming from countries outside the EU will be made available from other European funds. These are the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), the Partnership Instrument for cooperation with third countries (PI) and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).
Annual spending levels will be authorised by the European Parliament and the Council within the limits of the long-term budget for 2014-2020 (the Multiannual Financial Framework).
The total amount of the programme will be shared between different actions as shown in the table below:
|Budget allocation for the period 2014-2020 - €14,774,524,000 EUR|
|77,5% of overall budget for education and training||43% (33.3% of the total budget of the programme)||Higher education|
|22% (17% of the total budget of the programme)||Vocational and educational training|
|15% (11.6% of the total budget of the programme)||School education|
|5% (3.9% of the total budget of the programme)||Adult education|
|Youth||10%||Volunteer and youth exchange programmes|
|Loan Guarantee Scheme||3.5%||Guarantees for loans for Master level students|
|Jean Monnet||1.9%||Academic institutions or associations active in the field of European integration studies|
|Sport||1.8% (or at least €238,872. 000)||Sports activities|
|Other expenditure||3.4 %||Operating grants to national agencies;|
In future, funds for learning mobility actions will be allocated on the basis of the total population and the cost of living in each member state (rather than the number of students in higher education, as in the past) and the distances between member state capitals.
The European Parliament underlines that the scholarships allocated under the new programme should be adjusted to the living and subsistence costs of the host country and member states should also be encouraged to exempt the grants from any taxes and social levies.
These funds will be managed by the national agency or agencies designated by each member state as responsible for the Erasmus+ programme.
The programme is open to young people between 13 and 30 years of age, whether they are students, trainees, apprentices, volunteers, involved in youth activities, teaching staff or trainers, through any organisation or institution active in education, training, youth and sport.
Erasmus+ will continue to focus on the needs of young people and will support formal and informal learning experiences across all areas in the EU.
Schools or other educational or training institutions, youth organisations, volunteering organisations or non-profit European sports events will be also supported under Erasmus+.
Member states already have their own loan schemes but these usually apply only at national level. The European Student Loan Guarantee Facility will therefore focus on supporting Masters students who go abroad to study and it will provide partial guarantees for loans granted on the most favourable terms possible.
This new tool for promoting learning mobility for Master’s degree students will not replace or impede any current or future grant systems supporting student mobility at local, national or Union level.
The facility will be open to any student resident in a participating country who wishes to pursue his or her Master’s degree studies in another participating country. Loans will be granted on a non-discriminatory basis and no collateral or parental guarantee will be required.
The facility will provide backing for loans of up to €12,000 for a one-year Masters programme and up to €18,000 for a two-year Masters programme. Students will be able to apply for a loan through a participating bank or other financial body. The loan should be offered to the student on the most favourable terms possible, for example, with:
- an interest rate that is significantly lower than the market rate;
- an option to defer the payment of interest during the study period;
- an initial grace period before the commencement of repayments, lasting a minimum of 12 months after the end of the study;
- a provision for a "repayment holiday" of a minimum duration of 12 months over the lifetime of the loan;
- no penalties for early total or partial repayment.
Erasmus+ creates the possibility of new partnerships, or knowledge alliances, between higher education institutions and companies in order to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship by offering relevant learning opportunities for students in the real working environment, and developing new curricula and pedagogical approaches.
Sector skills alliances, or partnerships between education and training providers and businesses, aim to promote employability by creating new sector-specific or cross-sectoral curricula and developing innovative methods of vocational teaching and training.
Erasmus+ will be implemented by the European Commission at European level. At national level, each member state has the right to decide on the agency (or agencies, depending on national law and national practices) responsible for the management of the programme.