The "Erasmus Mundus programme is another, parallel programme that is oriented towards globalising European education. Whereas the Erasmus Programme is open to Europeans, Erasmus Mundus is open to non-Europeans with Europeans being exceptional cases.
On 9 May 2012, "Fraternité 2020 was registered as Europe's first "European Citizens' Initiative. Its goal was to increase the budget for EU exchange programmes like Erasmus or the "European Voluntary Service from 2014. To be successful it would have needed 1 million signatures by 1 November 2013. It ultimately collected only 71,057 signatures from citizens across the EU.
Erasmus+ (2014-2020), also called Erasmus Plus, is the new 14.7 billion euro catch-all framework programme for education, training, youth and sport. The new Erasmus+ programme combines all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international co-operation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for co-operation with industrialised countries). The Erasmus+ regulation was signed on 11 December 2013.
There are currently more than 4,000 higher institutions participating in Erasmus across the 37 countries involved in the Erasmus programme and by 2013, 3 million students had taken part since the programme's inception in 1987. In 2012-13 alone, 270,000 took part, the most popular destinations being Spain, Germany, and France. Erasmus students represented 5 percent of European graduates as of 2012.
A number of studies have raised issues related to the selection into the programme and the representativeness of the participants. Such studies have raised doubts about the inclusiveness of the programme, by socio-economic background, level of study, or academic performance. Thus, one study analyses the financial issues and family background of Erasmus students, showing that despite the fact that access to the programme has been moderately widened, there are still important socio-economic barriers to participation in the programme. Other study argues that the reason why the Erasmus programme misses its mark to reinforce a European identity is that it addresses university students, who are already very likely to feel European. Finally, a study finds out what seems to be an adverse self-selection of Erasmus students based on their prior academic performance, with higher-performing students less likely to participate than lower-performing ones.
The Erasmus Programme had previously been restricted to applicants who had completed at least one year of tertiary-level study, but it is now also available to high (secondary) school students.
Students who join the Erasmus Programme study at least 3 months or do an internship for a period of at least 2 months to an academic year in another European country. The Erasmus Programme guarantees that the period spent abroad is recognised by their university when they come back, as long as they abide by terms previously agreed. Switzerland has been suspended as a participant in the Erasmus programme as of 2015, following "the popular vote to limit the immigration of EU citizens into Switzerland. As a consequence, Swiss students will not be able to apply for the programme and European students will not be able to spend time at a Swiss university under that programme.
A main part of the programme is that students do not pay extra tuition fees to the university that they visit. Students can also apply for an Erasmus grant to help cover the additional expense of living abroad. Students with disabilities can apply for an additional grant to cover extraordinary expenses.
In order to reduce expenses and increase mobility, many students also use the European Commission-supported accommodation network, CasaSwap, FlatClub, Erasmusinn, "Eurasmus, Erasmate or Student Mundial, which are free websites where students and young people can rent, sublet, offer and swap accommodation – on a national and international basis. A derived benefit is that students can share knowledge and exchange tips and hints with each other before and after going abroad.
For many European students, the Erasmus Programme is their first time living and studying in another country. Hence, it has become a cultural phenomenon and is very popular among European students, going on to become the subject of movies such as the French film "L'Auberge espagnole, and the documentary Erasmus 24 7
The programme fosters learning and understanding of the host country. The Erasmus experience is considered both a time for learning as well as a chance to socialise.
Tutors are often keen for students of subjects such as Politics or "International Relations to participate in Erasmus. It is seen as a great opportunity to study abroad while not having the expense of studying outside the "European Union, since the grants available to Erasmus students are not available to those opting to leave the continent to study.
Some academics have speculated that former Erasmus students will prove to be a powerful force in creating a "pan-European identity. The political scientist "Stefan Wolff, for example, has argued that "Give it 15, 20 or 25 years, and Europe will be run by leaders with a completely different socialisation from those of today", referring to the so-called 'Erasmus generation'.
Most of the characters in the movie "L'Auberge Espagnole are enrolled in the Erasmus programme and the programme plays a central role in the plot.
Pakistani novelist Nimra Ahmed's novel "Jannat K Patte" (Leaves of Heaven) is based on the Erasmus programme, where the protagonist Haya goes to "Sabancı University through "Erasmus Mundus, which marks a turning point in her life.
The online public forum cafébabel was founded in 2001 by Erasmus exchange programme students, and is headquartered in Paris. The forum is based on the principle of participatory journalism. As of July 2013 it had over 16,000 registered members, up to 1,500 contributors and 20 ‘local offices’ writing about Europe as they see it. Volunteer contributors simultaneously translate the forum into six languages – French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish.