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A new threat to Erasmus scholarships?

BRUSSELS and VILNIUS – Erasmus students, participating in mobility exchanges in the second semester of the 2012-2013 academic year may do not receive sufficient funding from the national Erasmus administrating agencies. As according to the Lithuanan Education Exchanges Support Foundation the issue will not affect Erasmus students from Lithuania.

European Commission Budget DG informed about insufficient contributions of members states to the 2012 budget of the European Union, which makes a direct impact to all expenses of the European Union. In order to ensure the stability of EU budget, including the stability of Erasmus student exchanges financing stability, the Council of the EU together with the European Parliament should revise the budget. Unfortunately this did not happen by far.

Austria, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden dismissed the proposal to increase own contribution to the 2013 budget by 6.8%, which is being explained by ongoing financial issues.

Ilona Kazlauskaitė, Chief of the Higher Education Programmes Department at the Education Exchanges Support Foundation, says: “Financial limits in Europe will not appear as a reason for insufficient financing of exchange students from Lithuania in the second semester of the 2012-2013 academic year.”

“Financing of Erasmus exchange students from Lithuania is composed of European Commission funds and contribution as on behalf of the national budget. Higher Education Institutions in Lithuania did already receive the transfer of 80% of EC funds, whereas the rest will be transferred in March 2013. This is the reason, why exchange students, who went abroad this semester will properly receive own scholarships. Regarding those considering to go abroad in the second semester, there are already signed agreements between various higher educational institutions as well the financing of the Foundation is ensured through the EU Structural Funds and National Budget, which makes no reason for students to worry on the matter”, continues Kazlauskaitė.

Lithuanian National Union of Students reminds, 3419 students from Lithuania participated in Erasmus exchanges in year 2011, with the most of students chosing Portugal, Germany, Spain, Turkey and Denmark as destinations for exchange studies. The least popular are Luxembourg, Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria and Ireland. Since 2005 number of Lithuanian Erasmus students increased by 80%.