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Erasmus+ students left in dark about grants due to Covid-19

Image: A StockStudio, via Shutterstock


Erasmus Student Network heard from thousands of participants affected by Covid-19 disruptions

Two thirds of respondents to a survey question about how their experiences of participation in the EU’s Erasmus+ mobility scheme had been affected by restrictions on movement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic said they did not know what was happening with their mobility grants, according to a report.

The question was answered by 4,664 respondents whose mobility periods had been cancelled, from almost 20,000 respondents to the survey as a whole. Among them, 65 per cent reportedly said they did not know how their grants for covering expenses incurred while travelling had been affected by the cancellations and the measures put in place to mitigate them.

“Considering the fact that many [institutions] and national agencies were not prepared for the rapid changes that occurred, the large number of ‘unclears’ is rather understandable,” the survey report by the Erasmus Student Network said.

Of the remaining students, 24 per cent reported that they would get to keep their grant—either partially or fully—while seven per cent reported that they will not get any grant at all for their studies. At least one student quoted in the survey said they had already incurred expenses from moving abroad.

“The main problem that is created is the financial aspect of ending the mobility,” said a Bulgarian student on a traineeship through the programme, who added that they had been instructed by their home institution that they would need to return the entire scholarship amount. “I had expenses for the accommodation, food and transport here,” the student said.

More generally, the study found that more than 8,000 students had experienced at least one major problem due to Covid-19, including loss of accommodation and transportation home.

Research Professional News has asked the European Commission for comment. The Commission has repeatedly assured Erasmus+ participants that it has given them “full flexibility”, including the possibility to invoke a force majeure clause to reimburse students for uncovered travel expenses.