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Recently released figures by the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission for the year 2010/11 show a continuous growth in the number of students and staff that annually go abroad with the ERASMUS Programme. The total budget dedicated to student and staff mobility in 2010/11 was EUR 460 million. In this academic year, the number of students involved in ERASMUS mobility stood at 231 410, an 8.5% increase compared to the previous year. It seems that at least part of this increase was made possible by a small reduction of the average monthly grant, from EUR 254 in 2009/10 to EUR 250 in the next year, which then allowed more students to receive ERASMUS support. There were, however, also 6 880 students in 2010/11 that went abroad to other European countries with the programme without receiving financial support from it—the so-called “zero-grant” students. The average duration of stays abroad was, in line with tradition, six months.
As in the past, the vast majority of ERASMUS students went abroad in 2010/11 for study purposes (190 498) while the rest (40 192) went abroad for practical training (placements). The number of ERASMUS placements continues to grow though at a faster pace than the studies component of the programme—15% and 7.2% respectively from 2009/10 levels. The top sending and receiving countries (in absolute terms) are the same as in the previous year, namely Spain, France and Germany. The UK is the top destination for placements.
Also 42 813 staff exchanges were supported by ERASMUS in 2010/11—an annual increase by 13.3%. The large majority of mobile staff (31 617) went abroad for teaching assignments, while 11 196 staff members did so for training purposes. The average duration of stays abroad (for both teaching and training) was 5.7 days, and the average grant per staff exchange EUR 662. The top sending countries are Poland, Spain and Germany, while the top destinations are Spain, Germany and Italy.
DG EAC estimates that an annual growth level of at least 3.89% is needed in the next two years for the 3 million target to be reached by the end of the 2012/13 academic year. 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the ERASMUS Programme, which is celebrated through various European- and national-level events.