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Where does the Erasmus money come from?

March 12, 2021
By: Judit Emma Tóth | juditcovic

Have you ever wondered about how the European Union sets up the Erasmus+ budget? Have you thought about participating in the 2021-2027 program period? With the help of this article, you can find out how the Erasmus+ programme became one of the most successful programmes of the European Union, and also gain knowledge about the next period’s detailed budget.

The Erasmus Programme, established in 1987, was only for higher education students in its early phase but today it is open also for vocational education and training, school education, adult education and the youth and sport sector as well. In its launch year, Erasmus provided international opportunities for about 3200 students. Between 1987 and 2017 – when Erasmus celebrated its 30th birthday – 9 million[1] people already travelled and learnt abroad with the help of this programme. Seeing its success, the European Commission proposed to double its budget to €30 billion in the 2021-2027 period.[2]

The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) as long term the EU budget is an instrument „which sets the maximum annual amounts – or “ceilings” – which the EU may spend in different political fields – or “headings” – for a period of at least 5 years. In practice, the MFF is adopted for a period of 7 years and the current one is applicable for the years[3]

2021-2017 where Erasmus+ can be located, under the “Investing in People, Social Cohesion and Values” policy cluster (in the Cohesion and Values headings), together with the European Social Fund+; European Solidarity Corps; Creative Europe; Justice, Rights and Values, Rights and Values.

  1. Erasmus budget 2014-2020 (realized) and the proposed budget for 2021-2027 of the European Commission, May 2018. (in current prices)

According to the current budget (approved on 17th December 2020), the new period will not quite see the proposed €30 billion – because the European Parliament did not approve of it – but the new budget still shows a huge increase compared to the last one, as highlighted on the first chart.

The 7-year financial plan is further broken down year-by-year. We can see that compared to 2021, by 2027 the allocated funds will have almost doubled, which clearly outlines the EU’s commitment to increase funding for this popular project (chart number 2).

             2. Erasmus+ budget plan – 2021-2027 year by year.[4] (in current prices)

Even though the Commission proposal for the 2021-2027 period was to double the costs for Erasmus, after all with the €27,891 it is still a great success, mainly for all the young Europeans hoping to partake in „the world’s most successful student mobility programme”[5].



[1] From Erasmus to Erasmus+: a story of 30 years, European Commission, 2017.


[3] https://community.openspending.org/resources/eu/budget/#fn:ftnt2, downloaded: 2021. 01. 15.

[4] The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe, European Commission, 2020.

[5] Erasmus Facts, Figures & Trends The European Union support for student and staff exchanges and university cooperation in 2013-2014, European Commission, 2015.



Acknowledgements: many thanks to EUROPEA-Hungary and Juci 🙂

Text and diagrams: by Juci (HU)

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