ESU: “EU loans will not lead to more mobility for poor students”

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) is pleased to see that the European Commission’s budget proposal ‘Erasmus for all’, published on 23 November, acknowledges the added value of learning mobility and internationalisation of higher education. However, ESU urges for more relevant budgetary commitments as it deems this is crucial to achieve opportunities for student mobility for all. Most importantly, ESU does not think that the proposed EU loan scheme will lead to more students studying abroad, especially not for students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson said: “ESU is not convinced that the loan scheme is attractive and effective. We fear that there is a high risk that loans will be very expensive for students, especially students from a lower socio-economic background.” ESU echoes fears that funding for grants will eventually be replaced with funding for loan guarantees for students. The loan guarantee scheme, today officially proposed by the Commission, would be available for students who undertake a Masters degree in another EU country.

No extra money for Erasmus grants
The ‘Erasmus for All’ programme is part of the Commission's proposal for the multi-annual budget for 2014-2020 and allocates 19.5 billion euro to education, training and youth for the next seven years, an increase of 70%. ESU is however disappointed that the EU Executive does not propose to increase the Erasmus grants. Päll continued: “We do not think that the overall amount in the proposal is sufficient to achieve the mobility targets which the EU has set for itself. ESU also urges for tailor-made grants for individual students.”

At the moment, grants are not sufficient to cover the living and studying abroad and most students need to pay a lot out of their own pockets if they want to study abroad. This is the main obstacle for student mobility as a recent survey on mobility from the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) clearly indicates.* A video statement from Päll on the programme’s launch can be found on ESU’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/European-Students-Union/5633999333.

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Published: 23 November 2011

For more information, please contact:
Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32/479.591.499 or allan@esu-online.org or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 or marianne@esu-online.org

*http://www.esn.org/article/esnsurvey-2010-report-released