The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) published the preliminary results of the fifteenth edition of ESN survey conducted over the summer. The survey collected responses from 17,855 exchange students, 1,856 full-degree students, and 3,064 non-mobile students across Europe and beyond. This data collection effort was largely supported by various stakeholders such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, National Agencies for Erasmus+, higher education Institutions, university networks and European University Alliances. ACA’s Director, Irina Ferencz acted as part of an external consultative group, supporting the quality of the initiative.
The preliminary report shed light on significant trends in student mobility between 2021 and 2023:
- The report underscored the progress in the implementation of the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 priorities, especially the inclusion one with 36% of respondents agreeing and 46% strongly agreeing with the introduction of related measures.
- Exchange students emphasised the necessity for better information accessibility, with 82% of respondents indicating the provision of information regarding financial support as a priority. This is tightly linked to another finding showing that students frequently encounter financial challenges pertaining to insufficient funds for living expenses (35.63%) and affordable housing (35.5%).
- The report also identified areas for improvement in environmental sustainability and digitalisation in the context of student exchange.
- Credit recognition is noted as persisting as a concern, with 42% of students indicating changes to their courses during the exchange.
- While the satisfaction levels with services provided by higher education institutions remained generally high, an increase in dissatisfaction rates was observed compared to prior surveys, encompassing both sending and hosting institutions.
- In terms of the visibility of various opportunities under Erasmus+ among non-mobile students, the study revealed that 95% were aware of the Erasmus+ programme for studies, yet there is a stark contrast in terms of the knowledge about Blended Intensive Programmes (BIPs) at a mere 9%, indicating a need for raising awareness about these opportunities.
This preliminary report comes in light of the ongoing midterm evaluation process of the Erasmus+ programme (for more details, see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, September 2023) and will be followed by the final report scheduled for launch this December.