The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Commission have launched a new initiative to provide a total of EUR3bn of loans to Erasmus+ Master students via financial institutions.
This new and first mandate from the Directorate General of Education and Culture (DG EAC) allows the EIF to provide capped guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial intermediaries extending loans to mobile students undertaking a master’s degree in another country taking part in the Erasmus+ programme . It is expected that 200,000 students will benefit from this new scheme by 2020. The Erasmus+ programme is an EU success story, helping students who study abroad to improve their knowledge and skills, preparing many of them for international careers; this new initiative within Erasmus+ will maximise the impact of EU resources to help raise skills levels in Europe.
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “As confirmed in the Europe 2020 strategy, higher education is a driver of growth for Europe and this new initiative within Erasmus+ will encourage learning mobility in the EU. Student mobility is in the collective interest of the EU Member States and the Erasmus+ Master Loan Guarantee Facility will help to bridge the existing access to finance market gap”.
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "The European Commission is firmly committed to ensuring the long-term success of Erasmus+ Master Loans to support talented young Europeans who want to study for a Master's degree in another Erasmus+ programme country. I encourage banks across Europe to sign up to this new funding scheme. This will help us to offer young people more opportunities, enhancing their skills and fostering stronger economic growth”.
The EIF has opened a call for expression of interest to which eligible financial institutions (banks, guarantee institutions, funds etc.) can apply. After a thorough selection process, the EIF will select financial intermediaries which can then make the new finance available to students.
EU-28, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Norway.
About the EIF
The European Investment Fund's (EIF) central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. EIF’s total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 7.9bn at end 2013. With investments in over 435 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. EIF’s guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 300 operations at end 2013, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.
About Erasmus + Master loans
The Erasmus+ programme, of which the Erasmus+ Master Loan is part, is the biggest mover of students in the EU, with around 300.000 higher education students and staff studying, working or taking a traineeship in another European country every year. It is managed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and its executive agency. The DG's activities in education are also framed by the Education and Training 2020 strategy (ET2020), which contributes on education to the Europe 2020 strategy, designed to promote growth and jobs in Europe.