How does the UK's Erasmus Replacement Work and Is it Successful?

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The Turing Scheme provides funding to UK organisations to unlock life-changing experiences across the world for their pupils, students and learners. Schools, colleges and higher education providers apply for funding for projects on behalf of their pupils, students and learners. The Scheme was designed by the UK Government to provide global opportunities for work or study for students and replaces Erasmus+ following Brexit (for the UK only). Compared to the 18,300 Erasmus+ placements for British students in 2018-19, The Turing Scheme is projected to enable more students to go abroad and will see a record 20,000 students from disadvantaged backgrounds participate over the 2022-23 academic year. 

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, students holding a British passport must apply for a long-term visa to live in a Schengen state for 90 days+ (in a 180 day period).  This is an often-costly process requiring proof of economic solvency, which many students do not have.  

According to Capita, a consulting, transformation and digital services business, they confirm that a total of 38,000 students, from 130 universities, 116 further education providers and 70 schools, will visit over 150 destinations around the world. 52% of the placements are for disadvantaged students – up from 48% last year. Destinations where students could work or study include the USA, Japan, Canada, Thailand and South Africa. 

 For both the Erasmus+ and Turing schemes 100% funding of living costs is available for students with special educational needs and disabilities. Funding for higher education students is similar to Erasmus+. The funding for further and vocational education students is actually better under the Turing Scheme. People worry that the additional costs of studying in Europe didn’t exist before Brexit and are not fully addressed by the new Turing Scheme. They include visa appointments and costs, the need to demonstrate a student has enough money to live in the country – sometimes requiring proof of thousands of euros in a bank account.  Additionally, entitlement to free healthcare has changed. 

Length of placements can vary from two weeks to twelve months, with many students choosing shorter placements. It is difficult, therefore, to compare these provisional Turing Scheme results to Erasmus+, which was built primarily to suit an academic term or year. 

 The Department for Education (DfE) has reconfirmed that grant rates will be the same level as the first year and that additional support will also remain in place for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.