Thousands of students could have their chances of studying abroad thrown into jeopardy, if EU Budget plans go ahead.
Although the 2013 EU budget is still in negotiation, funding for the Erasmus student exchange programme is facing massive cuts.
Over the past 25 years, the Erasmus scheme has enabled almost three million Europeans to study and work abroad.
This year, 237 Leeds University students will be heading out to Europe.
However, without EU funding, this could become financially unfeasible for students in the future. Rachel Baker, a German and English student in her final year, spent twelve months in Stuttgart thanks to Erasmus funding.
She told Leeds Student, “I think it’s terrible that they’re even considering cutting Erasmus funding. It would also mean one less incentive and opportunity for people to learn a foreign language in a nation where people who do speak one are already few and far between.”
Speaking to this paper, the University’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures said, “We are obviously concerned to hear about threats to Erasmus funding but, at this stage, it is too early to tell what impact this might have on our students.”
Education Officer Josh Smith told Leeds Student: “It is so frustrating to hear about this threat to the Erasmus programme. Erasmus is vital for giving people the chance to study abroad, and without it many students would not have this opportunity.
I want to see our government do everything it can to ensure that the programme retains its funding.
Make a stand and come down to the National Demo in London on Wednesday – it’ll only cost you a fiver.” To sign a petition to save ERASMUS funding, go to change.org/petitions/europe-do-not-gamble-with-the-future-of-erasmus-programme.
Words: Kate Brady