British students and the EU

12 January 2016
What was claimed

Since 1987 more than 200,000 UK students have studied or worked in Europe on the Erasmus exchange programme, 15,000 in 2012 alone.

Our verdict


"Over 200,000 students have studied or worked abroad under the Erasmus education programme since its establishment in 1987. In fact, just shy of 15,000 UK students studied in the EU in 2012 alone"

Britain Stronger in Europe, 12 October 2015

14,600 British students went abroad under the Erasmus exchange programme in 2012/13, the vast majority to France, Spain or Germany. Around a third of these were on a work placement.

Those taking part represented roughly half a percent of the UK student population, according to the EU's own figures.

Almost twice as many European students came to the UK under the Erasmus programme as went abroad from here. 27,100 Europeans studied at a British university in 2012/13.


It's also correct that over 200,000 students studied or worked abroad through Erasmus between 1987 and 2013. In fact, it's 231,000, according to European Commission figures. It's still more than 200,000 if you exclude work placements.

We haven't found any more recent statistics than 2012/13. This may be because the scheme was folded into a larger EU programme from 2014, called Erasmus+.

Erasmus+ covers a lot more than just undergraduates studying at foreign universities. It also funds exchanges for university staff and vocational courses, as well things like voluntary work and sports programmes.

All this will cost around €15 billion by 2020, of which a billion is expected to go to the UK.

Last year around €113 million in Erasmus+ funding was awarded to the UK.

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