Erasing Erasmus: UK’s Post-Brexit ‘Turing Scheme’ Under Scrutiny

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The Erasmus scheme replacement, the Turing Scheme named after the famous British mathematician, will not pay tuition or travel costs, a choice that could prevent hundreds of hopeful students from studying abroad.

Last year Boris Johnson promised there was ‘no threat’ to the widely popular Erasmus programme, which allows students to gain experience in a different EU country. But after turning down an offer to continue the scheme after Brexit, the UK government have introduced a controversial replacement.

The new Turing Scheme has triggered accusations that ministers are crushing the hopes of students who wish to travel, study and live abroad.

Young girl looking at Brandenburg gate | Critics of the Turin scheme replacement Erasmus say its not accessible to students
The replacement Turing Scheme will supposedly provide international opportunities for students.[Image from The Complete University Guide]

Details, published by the Department for Education have revealed that far less financial support will be provided, leaving many students worse off than the benefits of the popular EU scheme.

The government is quick with the rhetoric, but is once again failing students

Matt Western, Labour Universities Spokesman.

Alarmingly, the previous advantage of having access to free studies in any EU country, plus other agreed European countries, has been replaced with the pressure of finding tuition funding independently. Participants will now have to ensure their university or college strikes a deal with the host establishment.  

Labour’s universities spokesman, Matt Western said: ‘The government is quick with the rhetoric, but is once again failing students.

‘The government committed to helping disadvantaged students access to study abroad opportunities but without support to cover tuition fees this will be impossible for many.’

But UK students aren’t the only ones who will suffer from the alleged ‘cost-cutting’ methods

Under Erasmus, the European Commission paid travel costs of up to £1,315 to all participants. Under the new Turing scheme, only those from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive help with travel – and the threshold in which this is determined is still unclear.

Named in honour of mathematician and Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing, the scheme will provide funding towards placements and exchanges of students.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, explained that the new scheme would ensure up to ‘35,000 students throughout the UK to work or study across the globe.’

Backed by £110 million of funding, the programme will supposedly cover areas including international university study, school exchanges and industry work placements. The aim is to improve social mobility by targeting students from underprivileged backgrounds and areas, a factor the UK government says was excluded from the Erasmus scheme.  

Students walking in London | European students will now have to fund their own studies in the UK without Erasmus scheme
European students will also have to find their own funding in the UK. [Image from City Guides Student Living].

Another complication with the scheme is the added pressure students will have to get a visa. Since Brexit, UK students have had to deal with imposing immigration regulations in the EU.

Under Erasmus, the European Commission paid travel costs of up to £1,315 to all participants. Under the new Turing scheme, only those from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive help with travel – and the threshold in which this is determined is still unclear

UK nationals are only allowed to stay in an EU country for 90 out of 180 days, without a visa. Students looking to do a full study abroad year will therefore have to apply and pay for a visa to lawfully stay in an EU country.

But UK students arent the only ones who will suffer from the alleged cost-cutting measures. The Turing Scheme will not provide tuition for students from other countries who wish to study in England. Previously, international students studying in the UK on the Erasmus programme did not have to pay fees as it was reciprocal- in exchange for UK students studying in Europe.

The Erasmus scheme provided a significant source of income to UK universities. The decision to pull out of the scheme will threaten an estimated £243m of income generated from the previous program.

[Featured Image: Source]