Explained: How Britain’s departure from the Erasmus scholarship program will impact students

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: December 18, 2020 9:55:58

The EU Erasmus exchange program (short for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students), provides scholarships to students studying in Europe.

While London and Brussels continue to work together to secure a post-Brexit deal in the final days of the transition period, several reports have stated that as of 2021, British students could be excluded from the EU’s flagship Erasmus + program, as Negotiations remained inconclusive on the UK’s participation in the study abroad program.

News of the country’s alleged departure from the program, which currently benefits around 17,000 British students and contributes over £ 243 million annually to the national economy, did not please furious social media users in Britain, who followed the news. hashtag #Erasmus on Twitter.

What is the Erasmus program?

Launched in 1987, the EU Erasmus exchange program (short for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students), provides scholarships to students studying in Europe, with the participation of over 4,000 institutions. The program has a budget of € 14.7 billion and offers opportunities for over 40 European lakhs to study, train and gain experience abroad. The duration of the exchange study can vary from 3 to 12 months, with students normally attending the second or third year of the course.

The eligibility of individuals and organizations to participate in Erasmus depends on where they are based. The scheme divides the eligible countries into two groups: the first is “program countries” – which includes all EU members and some non-EU countries such as Turkey and Iceland. These countries can participate in the program in its entirety.

The other partner country group, which includes India, can only participate in certain parts of the Erasmus program and are subject to specific conditions.

The program also includes Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EJMDS), a full scholarship for masters students from around the world, who go on to take classes at institutions in two program countries. In 2017, Indian students were the major beneficiaries of the EJMDS, with 74 students from the country getting their approved scholarships for masters and doctorates. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram

Great Britain and Erasmus

The UK is currently listed as a non-Program Country on the Erasmus website and is described as “a participating country during the transition period, until 31 December 2020”.

Under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February this year, the UK will continue to benefit from EU funding programs, such as Erasmus, as long as those programs last, even if this date exceeds the duration of the Brexit transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020.

As per report in The independent, funding is still available for Erasmus at the end of the transition period, meaning students and staff members will be able to complete exchanges and receive funding until the end of the 2021-22 academic year. British students, however, would be subject to new immigration restrictions that the EU would choose to impose on them in the post-Brexit future.

If the talks fail, Britain will formally leave Erasmus at the end of the year, at the same time as it leaves the EU. Observers say Britain’s continued presence on Erasmus is unlikely given the UK government’s announcement that it would consider participating in “elements” of the program on a time-limited basis, provided the terms are in the interest. of the United Kingdom “.

Leaving Erasmus could mean a major economic blow to the UK education sector. Under the program, 16,561 British students went abroad to study in 2017, while 31,727 EU citizens came to Great Britain. As with Universities UK International (UUKI), the Erasmus program adds £ 243 million in revenue to the UK economy every year, after deducting costs from the £ 420 million earned by EU students visiting the country as part of the program .

The UK government, however, confirmed in November that it will fund a domestic alternative to Erasmus, under which UK students would receive funds to go abroad. The program, however, would not support EU students studying at UK universities, as per Politico.

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