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European Commission - Fact Sheet

Erasmus+: another record year

Brussels, 30 November 2017

Facts and Figures

Today, the Commission is publishing the Erasmus+ Annual Report 2016, which covers the third year of Erasmus+, one of the European Union's most successful and iconic programmes. Since 2014, it has become much broader, providing opportunities for study periods and traineeships/apprenticeships for both higher education and vocational education and training students, youth exchanges, volunteering and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training and youth as well as projects in the field of sport. Erasmus+ is also more open to people from disadvantaged backgrounds than any of its predecessors.

What were the main developments in 2016?

In 2016 Erasmus+ was instrumental in supporting Member States to promote social, civic and intercultural competences, in line with the goals set out in the Paris Declaration:

  • €200 million were allocated to 1,200 cooperation projects targeting the promotion of tolerance, non-discrimination and social inclusion. Particular attention was given to the selection of projects involving refugees, asylum seekers and migrants principally in Youth mobility.
  • A dedicated €13 million call was launched to disseminate, replicate and upscale existing good practices at grassroots level. It attracted great interest from stakeholders with 35 projects selected.
  • The "Online Linguistic Support for Refugees" initiativehelped more than 6,500 newly arrived refugees to improve their language skills.
  • In the field of youth transnational partnerships, a quarter of the projects funded either directly involved migrants, refugees or asylum seekers or targeted their inclusion, citizenship, and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination. On the whole, 34% of the Strategic Partnerships in the field of youth promoted social inclusion and solidarity.

eTwinning Plus made it possible to connect European schools with schools in Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.

                                           infograph: 2016 in numbers

Did mobility increase in 2016?

Since 2014, the overall interest in mobility activities across all fields has been increasing by 10% per year. In 2016, 725,000 individuals and 79,000 organisations were funded by the Erasmus+ budget for mobility.

Nearly 3,900 higher education institutions were awarded mobility grants, representing a 4% increase compared to the 2015 call.

More than 100,000 young people were involved in the 2016 funded Youth Exchanges. That is 9% more than in 2015.

With just over 2 million mobilities supported in the three year period 2014-2016, the Erasmus+ programme is well on track to meet its target of supporting 3.7% of young people in the EU between 2014 and 2020 (i.e. around 3.3 million young people over the period).

What other projects related to education, training and youth received funding in 2016?

Erasmus+ also promotes cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices in the fields of education, training and youth, aimed at a long-lasting impact on organisations, individuals and policy systems:

  • In 2016 Erasmus+ funded more than 2,300 Strategic Partnership projects involving 13,000 organisations across the education, training and youth sectors. The projects address innovative, quality and inclusive education, training and youth work in a digital environment; improving transversal competences across lifelong learning and the empowerment, participation and active citizenship of young people.
  • Capacity building projects aim at the modernisation and internationalisation of higher education in partner countries[1], as well as cooperation and exchanges between partner and programme countries in the field of youth. In 2016 this action funded 147 higher education and 128 youth projects.
  • The 20 Knowledge Alliance projects funded in 2016 brought together companies and higher education institutions for the development of entrepreneurial skills and competences in sectors such as the circular economy, open design and manufacturing, international security management, smart engineering, tourism and wine.
  • The Sector Skills Alliances funded 15 vocational education and lifelong learning projects in the fields of manufacturing, the arts, entertainment and recreation, agriculture, forestry, fishing, construction, information and communication.

How does the programme support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds?

In 2016, the programme continued to fight barriers to mobility by becoming more inclusive for those from a disadvantaged background and those with special needs. In the first three years of Erasmus+ over 56,000 disadvantaged participants in higher education took part in mobility activities, including 1,682 with special needs.

Youth exchanges are a highly inclusive format for youth mobility, as 41% of the 104,000 participants in 2016 were young people with fewer opportunities.

More than 30% of the European Voluntary Service participants - their number rising for the first time above 10,000 volunteers - are young people with fewer opportunities.

In Capacity Building projects, special attention was given to the representation of least developed countries and the inclusion of people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and of those with special needs.

What developments were there in the sport sector?

In 2016, the sport chapter saw a €12 million budget increase (67%) compared to 2015. As a result more than three times as many projects received grants. In total 140 projects and 789 organisations benefitted from this action.

In 2016 Erasmus+ financed 63 collaborative partnership projects in the areas of social inclusion; and the integrity of sport. It also financed 18 not-for-profit European sport events. During the European Week of Sport, more than 15,000 events across Europe attracted approximately 10 million participants, twice as many as in the previous year.

How does the Commission support higher education in Partner Countries?

The international opening of Erasmus since 2015 has been a great success. With the International 'Credit' Mobility action of the Erasmus+ programme, over 26,000 grants were awarded in 2016 for short-term higher education mobility to/from Partner Countries around the world, with 55% going to students and the remaining 45% going to staff either teaching or in training. Some two-thirds of the grants were awarded to Partner Country nationals to come to Programme Countries. On average, students go abroad for five months at a total average cost of €4,400 each, while staff members go for an average of six days at an average cost of €1,800 each. Grants have so far been awarded to participants from 129 nationalities around the world, spanning five continents. Countries sending the most participants include Russia (which has its own budget) followed by Ukraine, Serbia, China and Morocco. More than half (54%) of the 26,000 participants are women.

Over €72 million was provided for the funding for 27 new Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees. The consortia together include 150 partner universities.

147 new projects for Capacity-Building for higher education in 10 regions worldwide were funded with a budget of €131 million, involving 1,913 organisations around the world.

A total 269 modules, university chairs, networks, projects, centres of excellence and associations were supported by Jean Monnet activities in 2016 in 30 European Programme Countries and 45 countries inside and outside Europe.

                                          Infograph: How international was Erasmus+

What data is available on the Erasmus+ projects?

The statistical annex to the 2016 Erasmus+ report offers comprehensive information about the different Key Actions, and their budget and commitment profile, along with detailed information on the number of projects, participants and organisations. Data per country is also available for selected actions.

Qualitative information on the Erasmus+ projects is available through The Erasmus+ Project Results platform, a database giving free access to descriptions, results and contact information for all projects funded under the Erasmus+ programme in the field of education, training, youth and sport. Results can also be retrieved in excel format for further analysis.

For More Information

Press release

Erasmus+ Annual Report 2016

Erasmus + factsheet

Country-specific factsheets

Factsheet on the 30th anniversary of Erasmus

Factsheets on the European education area


*The 33 Erasmus+ Programme Countries are the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.

Partner countries are all other countries in the world.


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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