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Image: Flickr / Håkan Dahlström

Erasmus guaranteed for UK students until at least 2020

Prime Minister Theresa May announced on 14 December that the UK will continue to be involved in the European Union (EU)’s Erasmus+ scheme until at least 2020, after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

She also took the opportunity to praise the programme, noting the benefit it offers to students and that UK universities provide a popular destination for many European students.

Speaking in Brussels, the Prime Minister stated: “I welcome the opportunity to provide clarity to young people and the education sector and reaffirm our commitment to the deep and special relationship we want to build with the EU.”

The announcement comes after a draft Brexit deal was agreed at the end of last week, part of which saw the UK recommit already promised funding to EU projects such as Erasmus+ until the end of the current EU budget in 2020.

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme for education, youth and sport. The current programme began in 2014 and will run until 2020, when the UK’s participation is guaranteed until.

The UK’s place in the scheme was thrown into doubt by the result of the Brexit referendum last June, with its future remaining uncertain despite Theresa May’s pledge to “fulfil our responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the European Union” when triggering Article 50.

The UK’s place in the scheme was thrown into doubt by the result of the Brexit referendum last June

The UK’s continuing participation in Erasmus+ was later suggested by the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence in September. In it she stated that UK participation in EU schemes “promoting science, education and culture” may continue, subject to negotiation.

The Erasmus Programme, which allows students to spend between 3 and 12 months studying abroad in another European country as part of their degree, was launched in 1987 and incorporated into Erasmus+ in 2014.

Students taking part in an exchange is part of Erasmus+ are also able to receive grants of up to €330 per month to assist with living costs in addition to significant contributions towards tuition fees, depending on the country of study.

Students at the University of Warwick have to pay tuition fees of £1,350 to Warwick during their year abroad when taking part in Erasmus+, with no fees to their host institution.

Since 2014, over €500million in funding has been granted to institutions in the UK as part of the Erasmus+ scheme. The National Agency for Erasmus+ in the UK have also previously advocated that the country’s continued participation until 2020 would allow an estimated 250,000 additional Britons to study, train and volunteer in Europe by 2020.

In addition to the UK and the other 27 EU member states, five countries – Iceland, Norway, Turkey, Liechtenstein and Macedonia – also participate in the scheme.

In addition to her comments on Erasmus, arriving in Brussels today the Prime Minister stated that she is “on course to deliver Brexit”. This comes despite the government’s defeat in a vote on a proposed amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Commons a day beforehand.


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