The world’s largest exchange programme for students and interns is entering the next round: today sees the launch of calls for applications under the Erasmus programme 2021 to 2027. The budget for the entire programme has doubled to over 28 billion euros for all areas of education. This programme is an important step towards further strategic internationalisation of German higher education institutions.
‘The Erasmus programme is the connecting intellectual link for Europe’s younger generation: European cohesion, identity and interchange are now more important than ever. Erasmus+ has over 28 billion euros for the next seven years to bolster the entire European Education Area, enable greater participation in the programme and secure the future of European Universities,’ says DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee. The national agency responsible for cooperation between higher education institutions is a unit within the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD).
‘Unlike any other EU programme, Erasmus+ embodies the spirit of the European concept and has been the flagship for student exchange and understanding in Europe for over 33 years. With around ten million participants over the next seven years, the EU has set itself significant targets for the programme’s future. Particularly pleasing is the further temporal flexibility regarding all types of mobility and their association with digital formats. There will also be further international opening up of Erasmus+ beyond the Erasmus countries,’ said Dr Stephan Geifes, Director of the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation (NA DAAD).
The European Commission states that this new programme generation is directed at realising a common European Education Area. The new programme generation will therefore place greater emphasis on promoting equal opportunities, inclusion, diversity, digital transformation and sustainability. This will for instance enable so-called blended stays in the future (in location and virtual) and the use of sustainable means of transport for travelling that is rewarded via an increase in the scholarship. Within higher education, Erasmus is aimed at all students from bachelor’s degree to doctorate level and all other members of higher education institutions for their study and internship stays.
German higher education institutions have to initially register for the new call for applications, whereby the first trips under this framework will be possible from autumn 2021 onwards. The budget for the new programme generation comprises 26.2 billion euros for all areas of education, and a further 2.2 billion euros from EU external relations funds that are specifically intended for students from partner countries included within the scope of Erasmus.
Exchange and cooperation with programme and partner countries
Erasmus+ is the EU programme for general and vocational education, youth affairs and sport. It follows the motto ‘Enriching lives, opening minds’ to promote Europe-wide cooperation in all areas of education. Various programme lines give German higher education institutions the option of funding the international exchange of their students and staff, establishing cooperation and partnership programmes and exploiting a wide-ranging institutional exchange between higher education institutions in Europe and worldwide.
There are 33 countries participating as so-called programme countries in the new Erasmus programme generation. In addition to the 27 EU Member States, they include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey. Post Brexit, the United Kingdom is no longer participating as a programme country, but it will continue to be listed as a partner country in a programme line for non-EU countries. Measures with the United Kingdom under the previous 2014–2020 Erasmus programme generation can still be funded until May 2023. In line with the expanded international opening of the programme, however, students in the new programme generation can only visit the UK on a somewhat limited basis.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) acts as the national authority for Erasmus in Germany. As one of four national agencies, DAAD assumes responsibility for implementing the Erasmus programme in the field of higher education.