In praise of … Erasmus scholarships | Editorial

Spain’s poorest students who had already made their plans will now receive some funding after all. Erasmus would approve

“I wish to be called a citizen of the world,” wrote the humanist Erasmus in 1522, a sentiment that inspired the Erasmus programme of EU scholarships, which funds university students to study for up to six months elsewhere in Europe as part of their course. Three million students have taken part in the scheme since it was launched (amid controversy, of course) in 1987. But earlier this week the Spanish education ministry, which has been sending more students on the scheme than any other country, abruptly and severely cut back funding – even though many students had already started their courses. Youth unemployment in Spain is approaching 60% and the news provoked a Twitterstorm of protest that has forced a partial climbdown. The poorest students who had already made their plans will now receive some funding after all. Erasmus, a Dutchman who studied in Paris and Cambridge, would approve.

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