Brussels prefers to have 2 million students to cross European borders while being subsidized for it by Europe. In total, 15 billion euro will be available for the Erasmus+ program, which also includes the Erasmus grants.
In Brussels, they finally have reached an agreement after endless negotiations: the budget for the coming years has been approved. According to the European Commission, the budget of the new Erasmus+ program is 40 percent higher than the previous budget. Therefore, more students are entitled to make use of the popular Erasmus grants.
European loan system
In addition, a so-called ‘Erasmus Master Guarantee Facility’ will be created, meaning that from 2014 on, the EU will be guarantor of loans students close in order to follow a master program abroad. The logic goes that the risk for banks will be smaller, which will then lead to cheaper student loans. Though the budget has not been determined yet, the commission expects 200.000 students being able to make use of it.
Students Union opposes loan guarantees
The European Students Union has always opposed the system of loan guarantees. According to the student organizations, Europe would do better spending the funds to the popular Erasmus grants. Moreover, they oppose encouraging students to lend money. Because the loan guarantees could attract more people from abroad to The Netherlands, Minister Bussemaker of Education supports the idea. Dutch students won’t benefit much because they are already entitled to take the financial support for their study abroad with them.
Uniting different programs
Erasmus+ is new program, uniting seven currently existing European programs in the areas of education, youth policy, and sport, among which are Life Long Learning and Erasmus Mundus. The total budget of all programs will be substantially higher the coming years, as compared to the previous seven years. Rougly 10 billion euro was available in the previous budget (2007-2013), and earlier negotiations seemed to result in 16 billion, but the final compromise ends up being 15 billion euro.
How these funds exactly are divided among each of the programs is not known yet. HOP/LJa