UK students to get £110m to travel to US, Japan and Europe in Erasmus replacement

4 August 2021, 08:12 | Updated: 4 August 2021, 08:18

The Turing Scheme replaces the EU's Erasmus exchange programme
The Turing Scheme replaces the EU's Erasmus exchange programme. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

More than 40,000 students will be able to study and work abroad from September as part of the new post-Brexit Erasmus replacement.

The US, Japan and Canada are among 150 places UK students can get funding to head to, alongside a number of European countries.

The Turing Scheme will award grants from a £110 million fund, sending money to more than 120 universities and over 200 schools and colleges in the UK.

The Department for Education (DfE) said 48% of places are expected to go to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, told LBC's Tom Swarbrick: "This is a real success story... these will be life changing opportunities."

She said that while Tom calculated the funding would come to around £3,000 a student, the funding would not represent a "direct calculation per head", with some of those using the scheme being pupils on brief school placements.

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Foreign universities are "eager" to send people to the UK, she added, and it is hoped most placements will work on a "reciprocal basis", with overseas students able to come to Britain.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said it helped the Government’s "post-Brexit vision" and provides young people with the chance to "grasp opportunities beyond Europe’s borders".

Erasmus, the EU's student exchange programme, has frequently been cited as a casualty of Brexit by Remain supporters.

Mr Williamson said: "The chance to work and learn in a country far from home is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - which broadens minds, sharpens skills and improves outcomes.

"Until now it has been an opportunity disproportionately enjoyed by those from the most privileged backgrounds.

"The Turing Scheme has welcomed a breadth of successful applications from schools and colleges across the country, reflecting our determination that the benefits of global Britain are shared by all.”

Differences from the Turing Scheme to Erasmus include a shorter minimum duration of a university placement, reduced from three months to four weeks.

It will provide financial support to people from disadvantaged backgrounds through a grant for living costs and travel fees, as well as help with expenses for visas and passports.

The DfE has tried to target parts of the UK which did not see high uptake of Erasmus.

Matt Western, Labour's shadow universities minister, said: "The Conservatives' rhetoric on the Turing Scheme does not match the reality.

"Ministers are claiming to be targeting disadvantaged students, but their scheme provides no support to cover tuition fees which will make accessing this incredible opportunity impossible for many students."

He added: "Ministers must ensure the Turing Scheme maintains the UK's status as an attractive study destination for international students, protecting and promoting our global standing."