About Erasmus+

About Erasmus

  • Erasmus builds on 35 years of international educational expertise.
  • Erasmus was established in 1987, initially as a European student exchange scheme.
  • It has grown to be the largest international mobility programme in the world, for all abilities, all backgrounds and all ages.
  • In 2014 Erasmus projects in a wide field of activities beyond universities were consolidated under the heading Erasmus Plus (+)
  • By 2020 more than 10 million participants had taken part, from both within and outside the EU.
  • The UK had 54,619 participants in 684 Erasmus+ projects in 2019.

What Erasmus+ Enables

  • Higher Education, further education, vocational training, adult education, schools, youth work, sport;
  • Hands-on experience abroad: work placements, internships, training;
  • Funding for people from deprived backgrounds;
  • Additional support to enable those with medical or other special needs to travel;
  • Professional development exchanges for teachers, trainers, youth and sports workers;
  • Support for collaborative networks linking local projects in different countries;
  • E-twinning: a safe platform for virtual communication between school children (primary and secondary), and teachers of different nations;
  • Volunteering;
  • Robust evaluation of every programme;
  • Participation in forming policy;
  • Eurodesk: a digital record of professional knowledge and experience;
  • Best practice shared;
  • Long experience of establishing equivalence of qualifications;
  • Collaborative administration, covering travel, accommodation, maintenance, insurance, welfare.

    What are we excluded from

    Turing has been hailed as the Erasmus replacement scheme, but it only covers mobility from the UK (not to) and a more limited range of mobility.

    The Government’s ‘Turing’ scheme does not replace Erasmus+

    I grew up in a society that was heavily influenced by gang culture. I myself was very much involved with that culture, before getting the opportunity to take part in a European project called Youth against Extremism. The project involved working with other young people from Hungary and Greece, and it completely changed my perspective on life. Now I’m dedicated to working with other young people and helping them to avoid making the same mistakes that I did, and staying away from the gang culture as a whole.


    • Turing excludes youth work (see quote above), sport, local initiatives, professional development, adult learning, volunteering (except at HE level), staff exchanges, E-twinning.
    • Turing does not match Erasmus+ support for travel or living costs. 
    • Turing is one-way: it pays only for outgoing students. Incoming international students have to pay full overseas tuition fees, which are higher than the £9,250 p.a. domestic fees unless fee waivers are negotiated.
    • Erasmus+ is based on reciprocity: tuition fees are mutually waived.
    • Overseas universities have no incentive to waive fees for British students unless it means they get access to the top UK universities.
    • The UK loses access to Eurodesk, the Erasmus+ information goldmine.
    • Turing directs students to far-flung, English-speaking universities, reflecting ideological priorities and contributing to cost and air miles.
    • Turing does enable primary school trips, whereas Erasmus+ has a minimum age of 13.

    Erasmus Funding Received 2014-2020


    Participants contracted

    Grants contracted €

    Erasmus+ Total (2014-20202)

     5.58 m

     13.96 bn

    Erasmus+ UK (2014-2020)



    Key Action 1 (mobility of individuals)


     767.72 m



       32.91 m

    Vocational training


    195.44 m

    Higher education


    468.08 m 

    Adult education


      11.51 m



      54.67 m

    Key Action 2 & 3


    Grants contracted €

    Strategic Partnerships


     275.72 m

    Partnerships – Digital readiness, creativity and School exchanges


       47.16 m

    Young People and Policy Makers


        4.23 m

    Data from the European Commission shows that for 2014-2020 the UK benefitted from nearly  €1.1 bill for 6,892 projects involving 331,765 participants. This represented 7.84% of the budget and 6% of all participants.

    Specific Erasmus+ actions we have lost

    • Teacher Academies – the new Erasmus+ programme will contribute to achieving the goal of enhancing teachers’ and trainers’ education and professional development by supporting projects involving cooperation with peers and spending time abroad. The Erasmus+ Teacher Academies are a new initiative specifically designed to support teachers and trainers in their careers by fostering deeper cooperation in initial and continuing teacher education.
    • European Solidarity Corps The European Solidarity Corps was launched in 2016. It engages young people and organisations in solidarity projects that meet the standards of a quality label. The overall objective is to strengthen cohesion, solidarity and democracy by addressing tangible societal needs and humanitarian challenges. With the current proposed regulation, the programme will become a single one-stop shop for all solidarity and humanitarian volunteering opportunities for young people.


      The European Solidarity Corps will offer volunteering opportunities but not traineeships and work placements, which had had a low uptake in the previous programme. There is an indicative share-out of the budget: 94 % dedicated to volunteering and solidarity projects, and 6 % dedicated to humanitarian aid projects. There is a 20 % cap on activities organised in the home country. A dedicated article on inclusion complements enhanced safety and protection measures for all participants and vulnerable groups. The European Parliament also secured a higher age limit for participants in the humanitarian strand (35 years) and a waiver of the age limit on experts and coaches.  The final budget is €1.009 billion for 2021-2027.

      Further Information about the European Solidarity Corps

      • The Eurodesk Network offers information services to young people and to those who work with them. The Network supports the Erasmus+ objective to raise young people’s awareness of mobility opportunities and encourage them to become active citizens. Eurodesk federates around 1 000 local youth information providers, so- called ‘multipliers’, that are regional or local organisations working with young people and delivering youth information (e.g. youth centres, youth information centres, associations and municipalities).
      •  eTwinning offers a platform for teachers and school staff across Europe to communicate, collaborate and develop projects. The platform aims to encourage European schools and teachers to collaborate by providing the necessary infrastructure and support services in 42 countries. To hear what eTwinning is all about listen to this video.

      Elements of European programmes no longer available to UK young people and educators, or inward to the UK:

      – Youth exchanges (inward & outward)

      – Training courses for young people and youth workers

      – Mobility projects for young people with disabilities or special needs

      – Study visits and Job shadowing for staff working in education and youth

      – Youth policy dialogue projects

      – Youth-led social action initiatives in the local community

      – DiscoverEU travel for young people with fewer opportunities

      – Citizenship and democracy projects

      – Online and blended learning projects

      – Teaching and administrative staff exchanges in school or higher education

      – School staff exchanges

      – Sports & cultural projects

      – Alliances for Innovation (green and digital skills)

      – Vocational skills exchanges and projects

      – Adult education training and projects

      – Capacity building projects between Europe and other parts of the world (all education sectors)

      – Cooperation partnerships and exchange of good practice (all education sectors)


      – Inward university traineeships (study places are available through the 20% available for third countries if the sending university choses to use the funding for the UK)

      – Any activities whatsoever for private or 3rd sector organisations (NGOs, charities)

      – Short and long-term volunteering for young people (from 2 weeks up to 12 months)

      In addition we have lost full access to the following EU programmes or can only access them in part:

      Background about Erasmus and the Plus


      In 2014 these were all brought together under Erasmus+ (2014-2020), amalgamating 7 existing programmes into a stream-lined single integrated programme covering all education sectors and youth, divided into Learning mobility (KA1), Cooperation projects (KA2) and policy support (KA3). For HE, in addition to staff and student mobility (KA1), there was now the option to apply for ICM (International Credit Mobility) for mobility outside of the EU, the addition of the OLC (Online Language course) for all mobile students and Key Action 2 (KA2), comprising Strategic Partnerships, International Capacity Building, Knowledge Alliances and Sector Skills Alliances. The Jean Monnet programme was also integrated into Erasmus+. These were seen as the Plus for HE.

      However, Erasmus+ is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of lifelong learning, including school education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. It is divided into decentralised and centralised activities.

      The Plus for the non-HE sector were Key Action 227 projects for Schools, Youth and Adult education and Key Action 226 projects for Schools and vocational education and training, as well as KA2 actions – School Education Partnerships; School Exchange Partnerships, Adult Education and training. All sectors also had mobility (KA1) actions.

      Some of these KA1 actions can continue in a different format under Turing, but some such as Adult Education (KA104) and Youth (KA105) are not included in Turing. There is no funding for KA2 or KA3 projects, so Youth (KA205 and KA347), focussing on projects involving Careleavers or the Advocacy Academy for BAME Youth in the Criminal Justice System are no longer eligible to apply. Although the funding for these projects was typically small (below €50,000 per project) the potential impact and reach in the Levelling Up Agenda is a missed opportunity.


      ERASMUS (named after the Dutch humanist and theologian Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam ,1466-1536, who taught in Paris, Louvain and Cambridge, the traditional European centres of learning) was set up by the European Commission in 1987 as a funding programme for students to spend a term, semester or year studying at another European university, based on university networks known as ICPs (Inter-University Cooperation Programmes). These were mainly run by academics and the majority of the students from the UK who participated were those studying Modern Languages. There were other programmes such as COMETT (enabling, among other activities, a student or recent graduate to perform a training course in an enterprise in another Member State) and LINGUA, which provided funding for language learning for young people and teachers to ease the freedom of movement in the European Community.


      Socrates II launched in 2000 to 2006. The British Council have managed the Erasmus and Comenius programmes, E-twinning and Youth in Action in the UK on behalf of the European Commission and the UK government since 2006. They were joined by Ecorys, who had managed Grundtvig and Leonardo, in 2014.


      In 1995 Erasmus was included in the new Socrates programme (1995-1999) and became known as Socrates-Erasmus. During this cycle academic staff mobility was added, as were Intensive programmes (IP), where students and staff came together for 10 days to three months from at least three different countries to explore particular topics, credit transfer and the ECTS (European Credit transfer System) scheme, Curriculum Development (CDI and CDA), European Modules (EM) and Integrated Language (ILC) courses. However, the main change was that the application was made by the Head of the University, often delegated to the International Office, and was underpinned by a European Policy Statement. 

      In parallel mobility programmes were established for schools – Comenius (named after the Czech-born theologian and philosopher Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1670) was one of the founding fathers of modern education who believed in brining education to all), adult education – Grundtvig (named after the Danish philosopher, theologian, teacher, historian and poet Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872) regarded as the ‘father’ of the Folk High School and a staunch supporter of educating adults for active participation in society as opposed to the more abstract pursuits of scholars), and vocational education and training – Leonardo da Vinci (the Italian polymath (1452-1519) was the archetypal ‘Renaissance man’. His artistic, scientific, mathematical, technical, literary and philosophical legacy have been an inspiration ever since.). These were incorporated into Socrates, but retained their own programme names. For Higher and Further Education programmes with Eastern Europe under the Tempus were set up and with the Russian Federation under Tacis.


      The name changed again in 2007 to 2013 to the Lifelong Learning Progamme (LLP), integrating the various education and training initiatives under a single umbrella: Comenius (for schools), Erasmus (for HE), Leonardo da Vinci (for vocational education and training) an Grundtvig (for adult education). In addition there were four key transversal actions: policy co-operation; Language learning; ICT for life long learning and Dissemination and exploitation. The Jean Monnet (named after the French-born ‘architect of the EU (1888-1979). He was the author of the ‘Schuman plan’ which led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the first step on the European road to integration.) programme which promotes the teaching of and research into European integration as a subject at universities, was also included.

      For Higher Education the work placements previously funded by Leonardo were integrated into Erasmus and administrative staff mobility was added to the academic exchanges.

      Devolved Nation Activity


      Scotland responded to the announcement of Turing with

      Supporting EU students – gov.scot
      Franco-Scottish links in research, innovation and higher education – gov.scot

      Members at the AGM (24 November 2021) of the European Movement in Scotland approved the campaigns to rejoin Erasmus Plus and protect and extend the rights of the quarter of a million EU-27 nationals living and working in Scotland. We made good progress in 2021 on Erasmus despite the unilateral veto imposed by Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission, on Scotland rejoining as a “sub-state”. Scores of MEPs back our stance, the Scottish Government is working closely with us in pressing the case with EU governments and civil society, including the European Movement International, Scottish universities, further education colleges, schools and unions are doing the same.

      Terry Reintke, Vice Chair of the Green/EFA Group has been advocating for Scottish participation in Erasmus and was heavily involved in writing the European chapter of the German coalition agreement which gives support to that aim. But don’t get complacent. Strong civil society engagement will keep the pressure on the Commission. She expects a greater proactive role from Scholtz in pushing the EU forward and that the UK will, in due course, rejoin.

      Northern Ireland

      Northern Ireland responded to Turing by joining forces with the HE institutions in the Republic of Ireland and offering the continuation of Erasmus+ to its students via a dual registration process at universities in the South.

      ‘Positive reaction’ from Northern Ireland students to Erasmus plan | ITV News


      Wales made the most progress in terms of a response to Turing, by launching its own scheme, more akin to Erasmus+, but also picking up some of the positive elements of Turing.  Students and pupils in Wales will be able to take part in the International Learning Scheme (ILEP) or Turing, and young people and adult learners will have access to ILEP.

      The International Learning Exchange Programme (ILEP) is a new multiannual programme announced by Welsh Government in 2021. ILEP will provide a wide range of international mobility experiences for young people, learners and staff across the youth and education sectors in Wales, with the first activities beginning in academic year 2022/23. Projects will run from 2022 to 2026 and during this time it is hoped some 15,000 participants from Wales will go on overseas mobility exchanges with 10,000 participants coming to learn, study, volunteer or work in Wales. The Welsh Government’s new £65 million international learning exchange programme has been developed by Cardiff University. They will work with an advisory board of stakeholders from across the education and youth sectors. It was launched as Taith on 1 February 2022.

      Putting Wales on the world stage | Wonkhe

      New International Learning Exchange programme to make good the loss of Erasmus+ | GOV.WALES

      About – Taith