The Erasmus+ scheme offers students opportunities to study or work abroad and has existed since 1987.
Over 50 EU and non-EU countries participate in the scheme, and eligible students are provided with a grant to help with living costs and the process of moving abroad.
This is a unique feature of the Erasmus+ scheme, which is responsible for 53 per cent of all UK students studying abroad.
The current Erasmus+ scheme ensures participation and funding for member countries for a seven-year period that is ending in 2020, raising questions around what the UK’s future will be with the scheme post Brexit.
It is true that there are a number of non-EU countries that fully participate in the scheme, but in January MPs voted against a clause that would require the government to fight to remain full members of the scheme after the Brexit transition period.
Concerns have been raised about what the government will do to preserve or replace the scheme.
If an agreement is not reached before the transition period ends or before the beginning of the next Erasmus+ cycle, UK students could be left with restricted access to European universities and EU students wishing to study in the UK could face high fees.
One suggested alternative is a new national programme to replace Erasmus+.
As reported by the BBC, however, the House of Lords EU Committee has warned that it would be very difficult to replicate the benefits that were gained from Erasmus+ with a national scheme.
The loss of the Erasmus+ will impact students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with particular medical or educational needs the most, as these students often rely on the extra support or funding that Erasmus+ provides.
If the UK decides to leave the Erasmus+ scheme and adopt its own scheme, measures will need to be taken to ensure these benefits are still available to avoid creating barriers to studying abroad for these students.
Image: Official Erasmus logo via Wikipedia