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Figures recently released by the European Commission show that the ERASMUS programme reached a new participation record in the academic year 2009/10, when 213 000 students went abroad to other European countries with the programme. The total represents an increase of 7.4% compared to the previous year. Spain continues to top both the ranking of countries of destination and of origin, receiving and sending the largest cohorts of ERASMUS students in 2009/10.
Of the 213 000 ERASMUS students, the stark majority – 178 000 – went abroad to study, while the rest – 35 000 – did so for the purpose of completing an internship (i.e. a company placement). The popularity of ERASMUS placements seem to be rapidly expanding from one year to the next. One in six ERASMUS students opted for a placement experience in 2009/10, i.e. 17.3% more students than in the previous year. In contrast, the number of ERASMUS students going abroad for studies increased by just 5.7% from the previous year.
The average length of ERASMUS stays for study remained constant at 6 months, while the average monthly ERASMUS grant decreased by 6.7%, to EUR 236. In total, the European Union invested EUR 415 million in the ERASMUS programme in 2009/10. This amount also covers the 38 000 university staff who went abroad for teaching and training purposes, as well as the rest of the ERASMUS actions.
The 2009/10 ERASMUS student numbers seem to demonstrate a step in the right direction towards reaching the target of three million ERASMUS students by 2013.