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European Community action scheme for the mobility of university students (ERASMUS), 1987-1995

The ERASMUS programme is based on Article 128 of the Treaty of Rome and is closely related to other complementary programmes, such as COMETT, TEMPUS and LINGUA. ERASMUS was adopted on the basis of the Council Decision of 15 June 1987 (87/327/EEC), which was subsequently adapted on 14 December 1989 (Council Decision 89/663/EEC). The activities covered by ERASMUS will form part of the higher education chapter of the proposed SOCRATES programme, planned for the beginning of 1995.
To achieve a significant increase in student and staff mobility between European higher education institutions; to promote broad and lasting inter-institutional cooperation; to contribute to the concept of a people's Europe; and to contribute to the economic and social development of Europe through the creation of significant number of higher education graduates with direct experience of intra-European cooperation.
Five areas:

- Inter-university Cooperation Programmes (ICP):
ICPs are cooperative networks between higher education institutions of different eligible States which usually link faculties or departments but which involve the full commitment of the institutions concerned. ERASMUS' financial support to ICPs is available for one or more of the following activities:
. Student mobility programmes (SM) which enable ICP partners to organise and support the mobility of students undertaking substantial (3-12 months) periods of study abroad in another eligible State. All such study abroad have to be fully recognised as an integral part of their studies towards their final degree or diploma;
. Teaching staff mobility programmes (TS) which enable the teaching staff of participating ICP institutions to teach regular programmes in other eligible States for periods of up to one year;
. Curriculum development programmes (CD) to support the joint development of new curricula, or the modification of existing curricula, for the use of all the ICP partners concerned;
. Intensive programmes (IP) of up to one month that bring together staff and students from several eligible States for the intensive study of a specific theme;

- Visit grants for higher education staff to enable higher teaching and administrative staff to undertake information, preparatory and teaching visits to eligible higher education institutions in other eligible States for up to 4 weeks. Grants may also be awarded to staff members of eligible non-profit making organizations or associations concerned with higher education even though such bodies may not be able to participate in an Inter-university Cooperation Programme;

- Student Mobility Grants:
Available to eligible students as a contribution to the "mobility costs" (notably travel, linguistic preparation and differential costs of living) involved in undertaking between 3-12 months of a fully recognised part of their education in another eligible State. Students must be fully registered on a course of studies leading to a higher education qualification/diploma (up to and including a higher degree/doctorate) offered by an eligible institution and should also be either a national or a permanent resident of an EC or EFTA State (although certain mobility restrictions apply to students from Switzerland and Liechtenstein which are not members of the EEA; moreover, students from EFTA countries must go to an EC country). Grants are managed by a network of National Grant-Awarding Authorities (NGAA) in each participating State and priority is given to students moving within ICPs or European Community Course Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and to students who are financially disadvantaged. ERASMUS students shall not be required to pay tuition fees at their host institution and retain their right to benefit from any national grant/loan to which they are entitled at their home institution;

- Measures to promote mobility through the academic recognition of study abroad and of qualifications:
The key initiative within the ERASMUS programme is the piloting of a European Community Course Credit Transfer System (ECTS) involving 145 higher education institutions in EC and EFTA States. ECTS is presently restricted to five subject areas (Business/Management, Chemistry, History, Mechanical Engineering and Medicine), but, at the end of its pilot phase, other areas will be encouraged to use ECTS. ECTS provides a set of common procedures for academic recognition and the transfer of academic credits from one institution to another. In addition, ERASMUS supports the network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC) which facilitate the exchange of information and the provision of advice on the recognition of issues;

- Complementary measures:
Financial support may be awarded to assist associations or consortia of higher education institutions with a significant European dimension, working on a European basis in making relevant initiatives (publications, etc.) aiming at making higher education better known throughout Europe. Similar support may also be awarded to associations or consortia of students, teachers or administrators provided they are endorsed by the institutions concerned.
The Task Force for Human Resources of the European Commission (TFHR) is fully responsible for the implementation of the ERASMUS programme. Operational aspects of the programme are managed by the TFHR, with the technical assistance of the ERASMUS Bureau. The European Commission is advised by the ERASMUS Advisory Committee (EAC) comprised of higher education and ministry representatives from all participating States, by the network of National Grant Awarding Authorities (NGAAs) responsible for the management of student mobility grants, and by the Academic Advisory Groups (AAG) which advise on the annual selection of Inter-university Cooperation Programmes (ICPs).

ERASMUS covers all subject areas taught in the higher education sector and is open to all EC and EFTA higher education institutions (including their staff and students) which are identified as being eligible to participate by the competent authorities of the States concerned. Action II of the LINGUA programme (which promotes the teaching and learning of EC languages) is very similar to ERASMUS and is managed conjointly with ERASMUS.

Applications for Inter-university Cooperation Programmes (ICPs) must be submitted to the Commission by October 31, 1994, the strict deadline for 1995/96 academic year. Applications for study visits may be submitted throughout the year. Full programme details and application details are available in the ERASMUS/LINGUA (Action II) Guidelines for Applicants which is published annually.

Grants to students may not exceed ECU 5,000 but are usually considerably less: grants for study visits seldom exceed ECU 1,000 per person. Grants for other actions depend very much on the scope of the proposal but grants to ICPs have recently averaged ECU 8,200 (or ECU 1,120 ECU per ICP partner).

An annual report on the functioning of the ERASMUS programme is submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training and the Education Committee.