Erasmus grants have not been paid to a number of students on year abroad programmes, Exeposé understands. According to Erasmus+, these can be worth €470 per month.
The university has acknowledged delays in the payments.
The grant, a fund allocated to study and work abroad students by the British Council and participating institutions, is usually given out in late summer or in the early stages of the autumn term. However, students have raised concerns with Exeposé that, despite completing the appropriate paperwork in a timely manner, there has been a delay in the payment. Some students working or studying abroad, whose Erasmus+ grants were initially delayed, have now received their grants. But at the time of writing others are still experiencing delays.
The grant is usually given out in late summer or in the early stages of the autumn term.
An email was circulated to students, informing them of the delay, on 6 November 2018. The email was an ‘update on the payment of the Erasmus grant’ in response to a number of enquiries from students. ‘The university has recently moved over to a new finance system and there have been some teething issues’, the email reads:
“As soon as the Finance Team have identified and resolved the issue with the new system, these payments will be processed and you will be paid. […] We are not able to estimate when these payments will be processed as the issue is with our Finance and IT Teams. […] We are not in a position to respond to emails regarding estimated payment dates as we are focusing our efforts on getting the issue resolved.”
One student from the French department, on an Erasmus programme, told Exeposé that they thought the University had not done enough to support them. They said:
“The university study abroad team has not done enough to ensure that each student is comfortable on their year abroad. Simply providing us a rough guideline and then not even delivering this to all students is inadequate and does not provide the resources the university claims it gives. Many of us had to research and apply for jobs independently, as well as search for accommodation. The least the university could do was give the financial support it was supposed to. I and many others have been incredibly let down and angered by a university that we hold dear to us.”
“I and many others have been incredibly let down and angered by a university that we hold dear to us.”
To receive their grants for work abroad, students are required to fill out paperwork including an Erasmus+ traineeship agreement, which must be completed by the students’ employer, the student themselves, and the university.
Another student who was also disappointed that they had not received their grant told Exeposé that while they currently have a job, they know ‘many students don’t have that luxury and are definitely starting to struggle’. They said that the University had done little to differentiate between students who had begun working as early as June, and those who had begun working later. They also raised concerns about the manner in which the university had dealt with their enquiries, and how they feel like ‘a burden’ when emailing the University’s Year Abroad Team about such issues.
A University of Exeter spokesperson said:
“The University implemented a new finance system in August of this year. In the early stages of the migration to the new system, there were some delays in processing some of the Erasmus grant payments. These delays have been resolved, and the Student Funding team have been working together with the Study Abroad office to process confirmed awards as soon as possible. However we apologise unreservedly for any concerns or issues students may have faced by these delays.
“These delays have been resolved, and the Student Funding team have been working together with the Study Abroad office to process confirmed awards as soon as possible.”
“While the first allocation of grants are usually paid at the end of October, the University does advise students that this is an estimated time, and not guaranteed.”
“The Study Abroad team wrote to all students to advise them as soon as they were made aware of the delays, and also offered guidance regarding who to contact if they had any queries or concerns. We are confident that students who have provided the full and correct bank details to receive the fund transfer, have been paid. However, any student with concerns about the payment of an Erasmus grant should contact the University, [via SID] with their student number and details of the concern so we can investigate individual cases. All enquiries should be marked for the attention of the Student Funding team. For any student who has applied for student finance, but continues to find themselves in financial Hardship, can apply to the Hardship and Retention fund.”
The Students’ Guild said:
“We are aware of a number of isolated cases where students haven’t receive the funding they expected. Our Student Advice Team will work with any student that approaches them to support them in resolving the problems delaying payment and addressing any hardship that results from the delay. We monitor cases and other enquires to look for information and patterns that suggests larger problems and where these are identified we will address them directly with the University.”