State Erasmus grants to be slashed for most students

Only those with lowest economic means to continue receiving 180-euro monthly contribution

The Education Ministry has announced it will only pay Erasmus grants for this academic year to students who also receive a general subsidy, which is reserved for those with the lowest economic means. In all other cases, a student in the prestigious foreign-exchange program will just get the part of the grant that comes from the European Commission (an average of 133 euros a month) and the part from the Spanish region where they are based (for example, 200 euros in Catalonia, or 272 in Andalusia).

But some regions have already stopped paying their share. Given that the state grant to Erasmus students is 180 euros a month on average, that means some participants in the program could see the amount they receive fall by a half.

“The objective is to guarantee that the contributions reach those students with the lowest incomes,” says the ministerial order, which was signed on October 24. At the University of Granada, for example, only 31 percent of students receive the general grant. At Madrid’s Complutense University, the figure is around 20 percent.

The dean of the former, Francisco González Lodeiro, received the missive with “surprise” last week. “They might have let people know in June or July so that students would be aware of the conditions under which they would be leaving the country,” he noted.

State Erasmus grants have fallen by 71 percent since 2011, from 67.2 million euros to 18 million euros forecast for next year. Around 39,000 Spanish students took part in the program in the 2011-12 academic year.

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