Erasmus Without Paper aims to create a network supporting the electronic exchange of student data and documents by interlinking higher education institutions and their student information systems.

In Europe, more than 5000 higher education institutions hold the Erasmus+ Charter and are therefore able to exchange students under the popular Erasmus+ exchange scheme. For almost 30 years, universities have developed their own procedures and IT systems to interchange Erasmus student data. Most universities are still using paper documents and send information in impractical Excel formats.

Processes and data differ greatly between institutions and the introduction of the European Commission’s MobilityTool+ has added another layer of complexity to handling Erasmus student data. Almost 90% of universities consider the workload surrounding the management of Erasmus+ exchanges very high or high and more than ⅔ of all universities have seen an increase of workload with the introduction of Erasmus+.

To tackle those issues, the European University Foundation has conducted the Erasmus Without Paper Desk-Research, which gives a broad overview of the different challenges the European landscape of Erasmus+ student data bears. The research explores various quasi-standards set by European institutions and organisations, related projects analysing mobility processes and presents the findings of one of Europe’s biggest consultations with Higher Education Institutions. Over 1050 institutions answered a questionnaire to map the current situation.

The research concludes with key arguments on how the EWP Network can improve the administrative burden for universities and streamline processes for a more efficient and environmentally friendly management of Erasmus+ student data. Find following some of the recommendations of the EWP Desk-Research:

EWP will build a framework that allows a decentralised peer-to-peer network in which:

  • student data itself is never stored;
  • universities will be able to join the EWP Network by either using a standardised connector or implementing a connector tailored to their own Student Information System;
  • a common data standard for Erasmus+ student data will be established;
  • The EWP Network is open to all trustworthy stakeholders and therefore offers a market-place for integrating a wide variety of systems;
  • non-linear data exchange will be possible to cater for institutions, no matter the IT system used or capacity.

If you want to find out more, find here the complete Desk-Research conducted in the framework of the Erasmus Without Paper project.