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Brussels, 30 July 2009

Erasmus reaches the 2 million students mark

According to new figures, released today, the EU’s Erasmus programme for mobility and co-operation in higher education, continued its successful course in the academic year 2007/2008 by enabling more than 162 000 European students and 27 000 academics to go abroad to study or teach. For the first time Erasmus has also supported as many as 20 000 students in doing work placements in companies and organisations in other countries and allowed almost 5 000 university staff to pursue training abroad. Student exchanges with Erasmus, counting both studies and placements abroad, grew by 5.2 % compared to 2006/07, while the increase for study mobility alone was of 2.1 %. On the basis of these latest figures, it can be assumed that by mid 2009 Erasmus has exceeded the mark of 2 million students.

Commenting on these figures Ján Figel', European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said: "More and more of Europe's students are able to participate in Erasmus exchanges. The fact that the programme has helped 2 million students go abroad for studies and placements since its launch in 1987 makes Erasmus a European success story. Research clearly shows that not only the mobile individuals, but also their educational institutions and society as a whole greatly benefit from such transnational mobility. Now we would like to build on the success of Erasmus and offer such opportunities to all young people who want to go abroad for learning. To this end, we have recently opened a public consultation on the best strategy to achieve this objective."

The data on Erasmus mobility of students and staff for the academic year 2007/2008, published by the Commission today, shows that during the 21-year period from 1987 to 2008, approximately 1 846 600 students benefited from a study period under the Erasmus programme. In 2007/08, 162 695 Erasmus students studied abroad. While this represents an annual increase of 2.1 % compared to the previous year, the growth rate is slowing down, with 10 countries recording negative growth. In other countries, however, for example in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the number of outgoing Erasmus students for studies has picked up growth.

Among the new opportunities offered by Erasmus, student mobility for placements accounted for 20 002 traineeships in 2007/2008 and is likely to expand in the future. There may have been a shift from study to placement mobility within Erasmus. Moreover, with the introduction of staff training Erasmus now addresses everyone in higher education. In 2007/2008, 4 883 staff members of higher education institutions went to enterprises and partner institutions abroad to receive training.

The number of teaching assignments continued to increase by more than 5 %. During the academic year 2007/2008 27 157 teachers went abroad to teach at a partner institution. Since this type of exchange was introduced almost 200 000 teachers and other university staff have participated.

With a total of 182 697 students in 2007/08 Erasmus student mobility expanded by more than 5 % counting all types of student exchanges including placements. At the same time the level of the monthly grant for Erasmus students also increased substantially, to over €250 per month on average for both types of student mobility taken together. This was due to a sharp increase in the Erasmus budget for mobility actions, to €372 million in 2007 with the introduction of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme.

The countries sending most Erasmus students as a share of their student population are Liechtenstein (6.43 %), Austria (1.77 %), the Czech Republic (1.54 %) and Spain (1.41 %).


Currently an estimated 4 % of European students receive an Erasmus grant at some stage of their studies. Erasmus not only caters for students and university staff but also supports higher education institutions in working together through intensive programmes, networks, projects and other measures and in reaching out to both the world of business and society. With the addition of Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 2009, the number of participating countries is growing to 33.

More information:

Memo with more detailed statistical information including breakdowns of the latest figures by country: "Erasmus programme: new figures on participation" MEMO/09/355 , 30 July 2009.

European Commission: The Erasmus programme [including more statistical information]

European Commission: Public consultation: Green Paper on promoting the learning mobility of young people

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