More and more young Europeans are undertaking an Erasmus semester abroad in order to learn new languages, explore other cultures and study and train in other countries.
The new Erasmus+ programme replaces the Lifelong Learning Programme, and has absorbed the Youth in Action programme and the international EU university programmes with third countries. The next generation of EU educational programmes opens up new opportunities for mobility and European and international educational cooperation for the period 2014 to 2020.
Under Erasmus+, the well-known existing funding programmes for periods of learning abroad such as Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and Comenius will continue to bear their previous names. With the grants envisaged under Erasmus+, up to five million people – almost twice as many as before – could spend part of their educational career abroad, including almost three million young people at university and in vocational education and training. An overall budget of €14.7 billion is to be provided for the seven-year programme. The various educational sectors (adult education, university, vocational education, school) and the youth sector will all be allocated a minimum budget in order to avoid a situation where the various target groups are forced to compete with one another for grants.
A guarantee facility (for a guarantee against the risk of defaulting) for student loans for those who undertake a master's programme in another European country is being introduced in a pilot phase. This allows students to obtain a loan to fund their master's programme from financial intermediaries of the designated national bank. Loans worth from €12,000 for one-year master's degrees up to €18,000 for two-year courses are granted at favourable rates of interest with consumer-friendly conditions.
Furthermore, the application procedures are to be simplified and the amount of bureaucracy reduced. Erasmus+ will differentiate between its various target groups. Thus a vital factor in the success of the current funding programmes has been retained for the future.
Erasmus+ was prepared in the Ordinary Legislative Procedure of the EU, meaning that it required adoption by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. After it was approved by a large majority in the European Parliament on 19 November 2013, the Council adopted the relevant regulation on 3 December. This meant that the programme could start in January 2014.
Erasmus+ is administered by the following "National Agencies" in Germany: The National Agency "Education for Europe" at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (NA-BIBB) for the programme components Leonardo da Vinci (vocational education and training) and Grundtvig (adult education); the National Agency in the German Academic Exchange Service (NA-DAAD) for the programme component Erasmus (higher education); the National Agency "Educational Exchange Service" (NA-PAD at the Standing Conference of the Länder Ministers of Education – KMK) for the programme component Comenius (school education) and the National Agency "Youth for Europe" (NA-JfE) for the programme component Youth in Action.