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The what’s, the who’s and the where’s of Erasmus 2012-13

The steady yearly increase in the overall number of Erasmus beneficiaries continues, according to the most recent figures published by the European Commission: in 2012-13 as many as 268 143 students and 52 624 higher education staff in participating European countries received Erasmus grants to go abroad for studies, job placements, teaching or training. This is an increase of 6% in the number of Erasmus students studying or training abroad compared to the year 2011-12. Malta, Cyprus, Croatia and Turkey had the highest increase in the number of outgoing students (respectively 40%, 36%, 27% and 22%). The reverse trend compared to the previous year was seen in six countries – Lithuania, Spain, Latvia, Iceland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. 

So who was an Erasmus student in 2012-13? The image below shows some of the prevailing features regarding gender, the average age, duration and level of studies, as well as the average monthly allowance of around 5% of European students who chose to spend some study period in another country through Erasmus. A large majority (67%) were bachelor students, 29% were at master level, 1% were PhDs and 3% took part in short-cycle programmes.

Where did Erasmus students go? The top Erasmus destination is the usual suspect - Spain, who also sent out the most students - in absolute terms - for both studies and placements. The second most favourite destination was Germany, followed by France, while these two countries swapped positions regarding the outbound Erasmus mobility, with France having sent out 35 311 students abroad and Germany just a little bit fewer, 34 891. But looking at the size of the student population, the picture is quite different: it is Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Finland who sent the highest percentage of students abroad. And the UK continues the tradition of having much more incoming students (27 182) than the ones who opt for going abroad (14 572). 

The report shows an increase of 16% in Erasmus job placements (traineeships) with an average duration of 4.7 months and an average monthly grant of EUR 376, which also represents a slight increase from EUR 361 in 2011-12. France, Germany and Spain respectively are again the top three sending countries, as well as the UK on its student-attracting throne, followed by Spain and Germany.  

The increase is also visible in staff mobility and training as well as in teaching assignments, and in the number of participating higher education institutions. When it comes to staff training and teaching, Poland is the leading sending country with almost 12 000 beneficiaries. 

What are the goals for the next seven-year period? The new Erasmus+ programme brings together a wide range of EU actions supporting education, training, youth and sport, including the revamped, i.e. internationalised version of Erasmus, which is now open to students across the world. Erasmus+ is to fund mobility of 4 million people including over 2 million higher education students who will be able to study or gain work experience abroad, both within and beyond Europe.