If you’re getting ready to go on an Erasmus study or work exchange, you’ll have a thousand things on your mind: accommodation, university or work documents, etc. Most importantly however, you’ll be wondering how you’re going to fund this year of weekend trips and fancy exotic meals. Luckily, Erasmus provide a generous maintenance grant, which doesn’t even need to be repaid as long as you complete your placement successfully! Read on to learn how to apply for an Erasmus+ grant and get ready to jet off on a new chapter in your personal development.
What is the Erasmus+ grant?
Before we explain how to apply for an Erasmus+ grant, it is worth explaining what exactly it is you will be signing up for. Every year, tens of thousands of students from Europe and further afield take part in study and work placements through the framework of the Erasmus+ programme.
This programme offers students the opportunity to go abroad and experience life from a new perspective, and make lifelong friendships and connections in the process. To make the Erasmus+ programme accessible to everyone, a grant is given to all of its participants, to help them cover the expense of living in a foreign country.
The funds are not distributed from a central body. Instead, they are given to participating institutions, who are responsible for awarding it to their students who are participating in the Erasmus+ programme. This is a somewhat complicated process, but hopefully this guide will help you wrap your head around it.
How is the Erasmus+ grant awarded?
As we mentioned previously, the Erasmus+ grant is not awarded directly by a central body. Instead, EU funds are distributed to institutions participating in the Erasmus+ programme, who then make awards to their students who are going abroad.
This is beneficial to the student, as you don’t have to apply for an Erasmus+ grant from a large body, generally making the process more efficient. It also means that you can get help throughout the process, by referring to your academic advisers and other members of staff who are responsible for the Erasmus+ programme at your institution.
“For 2018/19, the Erasmus+ grant was up to 300 to 350 euros, depending on the country you visit”erasmusplus.org.uk
What is the application process?
As the Erasmus+ grant is awarded by your home institution, rather than a central funding body, the application process is entirely internal. As such, the formalities will vary depending on your university or other higher education institution. However, there are a few key steps which you will have to fulfil when you apply for an Erasmus+ grant, which will be the same at every institution.
First, you must complete the formal enrolment process at your host institution, be it a university or an employer. If you are studying, you will have to officially register as a student at your host university. If you are travelling to work, you will have to sign all the relevant employment documentation.
Once you have done this, send the evidence to your home institution, and they will verify that you are ready to begin your placement.
Next, you will need to submit a signed ‘confirmation of start’ document to your home institution. This has to be signed by a representative at your host institution, so in many cases you will have to wait until you arrive before you can claim your Erasmus+ grant. That said, your host institution might agree to sign it digitally, so make sure to check is that is an option.
Once you have sent this to your home institution, they will process your application for an Erasmus+ grant, and send you the money. If they don’t already have your bank details, you will need to provide these as well.
At this stage of the application process there can be discrepancies in how different universities distribute their allocated Erasmus+ funds. Some will award the entire grant in one go, while others will award a portion of it and withhold the rest until a later date, usually upon successful completion of your placement.
If this is the case, the ratio would usually be something like 80% of the grant awarded at the beginning of the placement, with the remaining 20% withheld until the end. In this case, you will to wait until your host institution sends your academic results, or confirmation that you have completed your work placement, to your home institution.
These are the most important steps you have to follow to apply for an Erasmus+ grant. Some universities may have slightly different formalities to be completed on top of these, however they will make sure you are aware of any additional steps to be taken.