What would #Erasmus500 change for IROs?
International relations officers are on the front line of the management of Erasmus+ mobilities. Every year, every semester and every day, outgoing and incoming students rely on the IRO’s office and its personnel to understand the Erasmus+ mechanisms, find housing, know how the institution works and even have someone to share their personal misadventures with.
While many IROs offer a sympathetic ear to their exchange students and guide them through the required steps and procedures of the Erasmus programme and more, they do lack time and human resources to cope with the workload that surrounds the management of Erasmus+ mobilities.
An independent survey conducted by Selçuk University in 2020 has investigated the sentiment of Turkish IROs vis-a-vis the introduction of the #Erasmus500 proposed baseline mobility grant of 500 EUR/month and their thoughts on the potential impact this could have on the management of the Erasmus+ exchanges.
The results have shown that 90% of them think that there is a need for a change in the Erasmus+ learning mobilities grant system. Almost the majority of respondents to the survey (47.5%) have had one or more cases of students who waived mobility due to an insufficient amount of mobility grant. Addressing this lack of inclusiveness in the programme is at the very heart of the #Erasmus500 initiative and 92.5% think that #Erasmus500 could encourage mobility for those students who are forced to decline this life-changing opportunity due to a lack of financial resources.
While #Erasmus500 can bring a positive change for the students, it would also facilitate the work of IROs. This is what the survey results tend to show as 92.5% and 87.5% of the respondents think respectively that it will facilitate grant student calculations for the finance unit and that both the management, reporting and supervision of student mobility will become simpler.
Lastly, it seems that a baseline mobility grant of 500 EUR/month would be welcomed by third group countries not just to ensure more outgoing students can participate but also because it is felt this could pave the way for a significant increase of incoming students.
- Erasmus Without Paper desk research, European University Foundation, 2017, p. 39.
- #Erasmus500 Survey Results, Selçuk University, 2020
- To question 5 “what is your estimated number of students who have waived mobility due to the grant amount to date?”, 22.5% answered 10-50, 15% stated 50-100 and 10% more than 100.