Erasmus+ funding 2015/16 and 2016/17
As a UK Erasmus student during 2015/16 academic year, you are entitled to get €250-300 per month for studying abroad, and €350-400 per month for doing a traineeship abroad, depending on the country you choose to go to. This grant is a contribution to the extra costs of living abroad, which is why it varies by country:
For study abroad, disadvantaged students will also receive €100 more per month. Disadvantaged students are broadly those with an annual household income of £25,000 or less, but students should check their eligibility with their student finance or study abroad office.
N.B. These rates are €100 more than the minimum rate specified by the European Commission (which runs the Erasmus+ programme across all countries involved).
For 2016/17, the monthly grant, for study and training/working abroad, is exactly the same as the figures for 2015/16 above.
Is the grant the same everywhere?
Each year UK universities must apply to the UK National Agency for Erasmus+ funding for their students. How much each UK student can receive depends on the funding allocated to their university against the number of students from that university who want to take part. It will also depend on the country they go to, and if they want to do academic study or a student traineeship. All UK students are eligible for the same grant rate, but universities have some flexibility in managing their budget to meet demand.
The 2015/16 rates were decided on 9th February 2015, and the 2016/17 rates were decided on 8th March 2016. The aim is to support as many UK students as possible, and to make it fair, so all UK students studying or working/training in the same countries are eligible for the same rate, though universities can decide to fund fewer study or traineeship months where necessary, depending on how much funding they are allocated and the demand from their students.
Who is eligible to receive an Erasmus grant?
The Erasmus grant is not means-tested. To be eligible you must:Be registered at a UK higher education institution holding an EUC (Erasmus University Charter). Spend an approved study or work period of between 3 to 12 months at an institution which holds an EUC in another EU, EEA or candidate country (for students on short-term higher vocational education courses, the minimum period on a work placement is 2 months).
What can students spend the grant on?
The grant is extra money, on top of your maintenance grant or student loan and for long term study or training/working of a year. There is a substantial discount on any UK tuition fees for that year away. While the grant is intended to make a contribution to the cost of living abroad, many universities advise that students should not rely on it to cover every cost and should plan to have enough money to cover their first few months abroad themselves. Rent, food, socialising, travelling and how a student spends the money is very much down to the individual.
Tuition FeesStudents studying as part of the Erasmus scheme abroad do not have to pay university fees to the university they are visiting. Students currently benefit from the tuition fee waiver scheme. That is to say, if you spend a full academic year on Erasmus, you pay a maximum of 15% of your UK tuition fees for that year. An academic year consists of 24 weeks, excluding weekends and holidays. Having said that, if you study abroad for a period of less than 24 weeks, you will have to pay the UK tuition fees of your home university. This fee-waiver option is reviewed annually by the UK Government.
Is it worth it?
Cost of living abroad
This varies widely across Europe. In most countries, the cost of living (accommodation, food, etc) is less expensive than in the UK; however, some countries, such as Sweden, can seem more expensive. It’s a good idea to check out what your living costs will be before you leave, as the Erasmus grant is only designed to supplement your costs. The Economist's 'Big Mac Index' is a good way to measure this, comparing the price of a Big Mac burger, where the product itself should be identical in every country, but the price varies ("burgernomics"). There are also many websites and cards offering student discounts while you're abroad.
When will I receive my grant?
Students receive their funding from their home university and not the National Agency. In a typical year, universities receive the funding sometime between June and the end of September, and then they make the grant payments to individual students. The timescale for funding is slightly different for each university, because checks have to be carried out, every university’s application is different and each grant agreement needs to be tailored to the university.
In summary, the funding process starts with the UK National Agency sending a grant agreement to the university, and continues with the university completing and returning thepaperwork, then finishes with the UK National Agency issuing the grant payment to the university. Each university then makes its own arrangements for paying its students.
Due to a combination of issues in 2014, some students studying or working/training abroad between June and December 2014 may have received their grant later than expected. This was due to complications caused by the introduction of the new Erasmus+ programme, now covering schools, colleges, adult education, youth and sport, as well as higher education.
This year, the UK National Agency expects the process of paying participating universities to be much smoother for everyone, especially with the grant rate already decided. They say: "We have learnt from last year’s student feedback and we will be working closely with universities to ensure students know when to expect their grant."
Erasmus+ is an affordable opportunity to experience life in another country in Europe as students are able to receive their maintenance grant or loan, their tuition fees abroad are covered, there is an Erasmus+ grant while studying or training, and if there is a whole academic year of study or traineeship, there is a substantial discount on any UK tuition fees for that year away. Here are 100 other reasons! To find out more about all of the Erasmus+ opportunities available to you, click here to discover the British Council StudyWorkCreate.