Erasmus+ is an EU program that lets students study and work abroad in one of the 32 countries that are part of the EU. Since Brexit happened on December 31, 2020, the UK will no longer be a part of Erasmus+.
The UK will replace Erasmus+ with the Turing scheme in September 2021. The Turing scheme is named after the English mathematician Alan Turing.
Why is the UK getting rid of Erasmus+?
Boris Johnson, who is the Prime Minister of the UK, said that the program was too expensive for the UK to keep doing.
The EU Erasmus+ program cost the UK about €160 million ($194.4 million) each year, and it covered about 49,000 students and more than 7,000 staff.
The Turing scheme will be supported by £100 million, which is about US$136 million. This new program will help thousands of UK students study abroad.
How will Turing be different from the Erasmus+ program?
According to the website of the UK Government, the Turing scheme will be similar to Erasmus+, but around 35,000 UK students will be able to study and work in countries all over the world, not just in the EU.
Universities in the Commonwealth and the US are thought to be a priority for the Turing scheme, and the UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson called it “truly international.”
The program will focus more on helping students from poor backgrounds who wouldn’t have been able to study abroad before.
Williamson said, “We now have the chance to make it easier for more students from all walks of life to study abroad and gain from the experience.”
The Turing Scheme will help pay for up to £545 per month of living costs. However, it was just announced in March 2021 that the new Turing Scheme will not pay for students’ tuition or travel costs.
“Turing Scheme funding is not available for tuition fees,” the UK government wrote on the Turing Scheme website. Higher education (HE) providers are expected to work out tuition fee waivers with their partner HE providers to make it easier for students to study abroad.
But there will be extra help for students from poor backgrounds, which could cover up to £1,360 of their travel costs.
When does the Turing plan begin?
The Turing scheme is expected to start in September 2021, and more information about how to join will be available closer to that time.
Who can join in?
At the moment, not all of the plan’s details have been made public, and it won’t be clear who can join until later in the year.
But based on the first documents that were made public, it looks like the new scheme will help UK students study abroad in countries all over the world.
It hasn’t been said yet if this will make it easy for international students to study in the UK.
What if I want to take part in Erasmus+ in the academic year 2020/21?
During the 2020/21 academic year, the UK will still be a full participant in the Erasmus+ program. This means that these students will still get EU funding for the whole academic year, even if it goes into 2021.
Why does the new plan cause so much trouble?
Education experts from all over the world were very upset by the UK’s decision to stop taking part in Erasmus+.
The new Turing scheme was criticized by Professor Paul James Cardwell from the University of Strathclyde. In December 2020, he wrote on Twitter:
“It’s hard to set up a plan for 2021, especially for people who are already in college and were supposed to go on Erasmus placements” (language students in particular). Setting up agreements with universities that are not part of Erasmus takes many months of paperwork.”
Cardwell also doesn’t like the idea that the new program will be centered on the UK and help more UK students study abroad instead of helping international students study in the UK.
He wrote, “Erasmus and non-EU links work because of an exchange, and usually reciprocity in numbers.” The UK might be a nice place to visit, but it’s also expensive, and the rules for student visas are off-putting.
But Vivienne Stern, who is the International Director of Universities UK, called the Turing scheme a “fantastic development.”
She said, “From what I understand, there will be grants for young people not just in universities but also in other places, to help them study, work, or do volunteer work.”
“These experiences help graduates get jobs, especially students from low-income families who wouldn’t be able to go abroad otherwise.”