The data analysis shows that mobility numbers of students and staff going abroad have continued to increase despite of the financial crisis. This means that the benefits of mobility continue to be recognised and the Erasmus programme remains an important mobility promoter.
“The study is based on the assumption that the effects of the financial crisis may be either positive or negative: it may make opportunities abroad appear more attractive, but it might also cause financial obstacles to going abroad.” – Hanna-Stella Haaristo
At the same time, the growth rates have slowed for all types of mobility – for students and for staff and for outgoing and incoming mobility. This shows that the financial crisis has certainly had a dampening effect on mobility participation. However, whilst the financial crisis appears to have dampened growth in mobility participation in many countries, it has actually promoted growth in others.
Changes in affordability of the programme for students are caused by:
- The financial situation of students’ parents;
- Changes to public funding;
- Changes in the chances for students to work alongside their studies at home or abroad.
In most cases, only some changes to public budgets have been passed on to students, but interviewees warned that this is starting to change and could have future impacts on mobility rates. Staff budget cuts have already led to reductions in staff salaries, which have affected their possibility to go abroad.
It may be the overall perception of periods abroad as an opportunity, which has led to the maintenance of growth in mobility numbers in both staff and student numbers. This more utilitarian perception of mobility may be changing participation in Erasmus programmes. Durations abroad are becoming shorter and students choose placements over studies more frequently.
The study recommends that the coordinators of the Erasmus Programme at European level, but particularly at national level, work together to monitor further effects of the crisis using both administrative data and their interpretive expertise. National Agencies for mobility may benefit from forming explicit strategic partnerships in order to ensure further support and long-term growth in Erasmus participation.