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Although not formally launched yet, the new Erasmus+ programme is already waiting in the wings. Important information, the content and the objectives of the upcoming Erasmus+ programme have become known to ACA from several preparatory meetings.
As the final decision on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) has been delayed, the adoption of the Erasmus+ programme is not likely to take place before the end of November. The seven year budget will most likely account for EUR 14.774 billion. The funding for the international dimension of the Erasmus+ programme (i.e. cooperation with third countries) is still under negotiation, although figures of EUR 1.192 have been lately reported.
Erasmus+ will combine EU activities for education, training, youth and sports. Specifically, the programme will be organised according to three key actions:
With regard to internationalisation of higher education, the key actions include some novelties such as a student loan guarantee facility. A call for proposals related to this new European-backed loan is expected to be launched at the beginning of 2014, inviting financial intermediaries to apply at the European Investment Fund which will be entrusted with the loan guarantee facility. Eligibility for student mobility will be extended to up to 12 months per academic degree cycle, allowing students to benefit from the Erasmus+ programme at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level. Moreover, the student mobility funding under the Erasmus+ programme will take into account the living expenses of potential study destinations. Accordingly, countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme will be categorised in three groups based on living costs which then in turn will determine the level of grants.
Finally, the Commission intends to put stronger emphasis on language acquisition by providing linguistic support through a language learning platform available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Mobile students will have to participate in a language assessment before and after their stay abroad. Consequently, the relevance and benefits of mobility shall be underscored by providing pertinent figures. It still remains to be seen whether the evaluation will be implemented through a language test or rather a self-assessment based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).