European Student Card graphic

European Student Card to be ready for next Erasmus+ Programme

Gerry O'Sullivan

Posted: 13 September, 2019

The European Student Card is a key initiative of the European Education Area, which aims to make mobility “a reality for all” and to foster a sense of European identity among students. To achieve this ambitious goal, the initiative will make it easier for students and universities to participate in mobility projects, while enhancing the quality of the mobility experience and establishing a strong visual European student identity.

The European Student Card initiative has two main objectives. First, it aims at simplifying administrative processes related to student mobility. To achieve this the initiative will:

  • Via an enhanced Erasmus+ Mobile App, create an online one-stop shop for students to manage all the steps of their mobility, before, during and after;
  • Digitise administrative procedures for universities and streamline electronic academic student data exchanges between them, by connecting their information systems via the Erasmus without Paper (EWP) Network;

On top of this, the initiative aims at facilitating online authentication of students’ academic records and easier recognition of the student status across Europe.   To achieve this the initiative will:

  • Develop a unique European student e-identifier to further facilitate secure online administrative procedures and create potential links with the new digital Europass initiative and other EU tools;
  • Establish a common European student identity by enabling universities and student unions to add the new “European Student” hologram, QR code and unique European Student Card number to existing student cards.

The European Student Card initiative in a nutshell:

  • The benefits for higher education institutions

Mobility coordinators at International Relations Offices spend too much time entering data into different systems, facilitating paperwork in exchanging necessary information with their colleagues abroad through different channels following different procedures. The result of this is often double work, lack of oversight of the mobility cycle and frustration on lack of time to provide more personalised support. To address this issue the initiative aims at making it possible for any HEI to manage all student mobility from a single online entry point. Universities involved in the pilots linked to the initiative have reported that they reduced the time spent on key parts of student mobility management by more than 50% when using the initiative’s online functionalities that are already available for mobility coordinators to use in their day-to-day work. Moving from the existing paper-based processes to the new streamlined, digitised processes should generate significant efficiency gains and reduce costs for universities in the medium- to long- term.

  • The benefits for students

The enhanced Erasmus+ Mobile App will put all the necessary information, services and administrative steps at the fingertips of students. This includes applying for a mobility, having their learning agreement approved and later on, enabling them to authenticate themselves online when enrolling in the host HEI. This will eliminate gradually the need to complete on-site registration procedures and paper work when arriving on a Campus abroad, ensure faster access to services at the host HEI such as library, transport and accommodation and facilitate automatic recognition of credits earned abroad. Furthermore, having a visible symbol of the “European Student identity” added onto existing student cards should enable students to have faster and easier access to student services, discounts and special deals offered to students at the host HEI and city abroad.

  • When will the European Student Card be ready?

All the functionalities of the initiative should become available to universities and students at the start of the next Erasmus programme. The initial step-by-step roll-out in 2021 will focus on Erasmus+ intra-European student mobility. Based on the experience and feedback from this first roll-out, the intention is to expand the initiative to cover all student mobility funded by other programmes (non-Erasmus) by 2025.

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