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Turing Scheme: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL14163, tabled on 11 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision not to pay for the tuition of disadvantaged students on the Turing scheme on the ability of such students to study abroad.

Answered on

22 March 2021

Rather than being EU-focused, the Turing Scheme is truly global, and every country in the world will be eligible to partner with UK educational settings. It will be backed by £110 million of taxpayers’ money to support international projects and activities during the 2021/22 academic year. This will provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas – a similar number as under Erasmus+.

Under Erasmus+, we have seen that UK undergraduates from more advantaged backgrounds have been 1.7 times more likely to participate in mobilities compared to disadvantaged students. The Turing Scheme is targeted at all students, particularly the most disadvantaged. More information is available on the website: www.turing-scheme.org.uk, and in the Programme Guide, which can be accessed here: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Turing-Scheme-Guide-V1.pdf.

Erasmus+ only provides travel support to partner countries, which make up less than 3% of the total number of outgoing Erasmus+ UK higher education mobilities. Unlike Erasmus+, the Turing Scheme provides support for travel costs to all destinations. For schools and colleges, all participants will receive travel funding. For disadvantaged students in higher education, the Turing Scheme will provide travel costs to all destinations. We are also going further than just direct travel costs, offering support for visas, passports, insurance and other related costs for disadvantaged students.

All participating students will receive grants to contribute towards their cost of living, which will be dependent on the destination country. Under Erasmus+, higher education students can receive a maximum of €540 per month for the cost of living in programme countries, including the disadvantaged supplement. For an Erasmus+ study placement, this includes €370-420 per month for cost of living, plus €120 per month disadvantaged uplift. Under the Turing Scheme, participants can receive the equivalent of a maximum of €573 per month. This includes the equivalent of €392-445 per month for the cost of living, plus a €129 per month disadvantaged uplift. These rates are based on an exchange rate of 1.17 Euro to 1 Pound Sterling. Students can continue to apply for student finance.

For all students participating in the Turing Scheme, we expect tuition fees to be waived by host institutions, as is typical under Erasmus+ and other exchange schemes. This is a matter for individual institutions to agree, and something that universities do as a matter of course when they form exchange partnerships with international providers.