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Brussels, 15 April 2003

2000 Higher Education institutions will participate in the ERASMUS programme in the academic year 2003/2004

New Erasmus University Charters have just been awarded to universities and higher education institutions, serving as an entry point for all ERASMUS activities a university wishes to engage in. It will entitle the universities to apply to the European Commission for funds for centralised ERASMUS projects (Curriculum Development projects, Intensive Programmes and Thematic Networks) and to the national agencies for funding for mobility activities (student and teacher mobility grants, grants for organisation of mobility and introduction of the European Credit Transfer System, ECTS).

"The Erasmus Charter I launched during the celebrations for the millionth Erasmus student last October is a tool for students as well as for universities. It ensures more transparency as to the rights and duties of Erasmus students and participating universities. For universities, the ERASMUS University Charter will replace the previous framework from the academic year 2003/2004 onwards. I am convinced that Erasmus will keep attracting more and more students and higher education institutions in the enlarged European Union" said Viviane Reding, European Commission for Education and Culture.

The ERASMUS University Charters, signed last week by Mr. David Coyne, Director for Education of the directorate general for Education and Culture, stipulate the obligations for the universities in carrying out European cooperation. Most of these relate to services provided for mobile students (waiving of tuition fees, recognition of study periods abroad, etc.). Alongside the ERASMUS University Charter, students participating in the exchanges will receive an ERASMUS Student Charter, a card explaining the rights and obligations of a mobile student.

During its sixteen years of existence the ERASMUS programme has experienced several changes. It started as networks, called Interuniversity Cooperation Programmes, which were based on relations of individual university professors. At the beginning, 150 institutions participated in the programme. From 1997 onwards, universities' European cooperation activities have been grouped together under Institutional Contracts. Over the years, the number of participating institutions kept growing until the present 1850. The number of exchange students having participated in the programme reached the first million in 2002/2003.

The annual budget of the Erasmus programme is about 160 million Euro.

More information on Erasmus:

Detailed information on the Erasmus University Charter:

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