(BRUSSELS) – More people than ever before are taking part in the Erasmus+ student exchange programme, the number of projects supported continues to grow, and the programme is becoming more inclusive, says a report.
The EU invested a record €2.6 billion in the programme in 2017, an increase of 13% compared to 2016. This made it possible to provide more opportunities for young people than ever before. The figures show that Erasmus+ remains well on track to meet its target of supporting 3.7% of young people in the EU between 2014 and 2020. The report also highlights that the programme is becoming more open for people from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as smaller organisations.
“2017 was a year in which the programme once again broadened horizons, fostered cultural exchanges, and opened new opportunities in the fields of education, training, youth and sport,” said Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics: “The figures published today confirm the pivotal role Erasmus+ is playing in building a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient Europe.”
In 2017, Erasmus+ provided support for a record almost 800,000 people to study, train or volunteer abroad, up by 10% compared to 2016. It also funded cooperation between education institutions, youth organisations and businesses. Overall, 84,700 organisations participated in 22,400 projects. The programme enabled more than 400,000 higher education students, trainees and staff to spend a period learning, training or teaching abroad during the 2016/2017 academic year, including around 34,000 students and staff who received grants to go to and from partner countries across the world. France, Germany and Spain were the top three sending countries for students, while Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom were the three most popular student destinations.
The annual report highlights once again that Erasmus+ is far more than a programme for university students and staff. It also continued to deliver for vocational training learners and staff (160,000), young people and youth workers (158,000), and adult education staff (6,400). Furthermore, cooperation projects also benefited school teachers and staff (47,000) and their pupils (110,000). In addition to the annual European Week of Sport, the programme financed 162 sports projects involving 930 organisations including ten not-for-profit sports events.
Erasmus+ is also becoming increasingly accessible to those who stand to gain the most, by offering more opportunities and granting additional funding to participants from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. In 2017, almost 21,000 disadvantaged students and staff took part in Erasmus+ mobility activities in higher education. This brings the total to over 67,500 disadvantaged higher education participants since 2014, including almost 2,000 participants with special needs.