Fruitful cooperation in 2023
The European Student Card initiative, with the Erasmus Without Paper (EWP) network as a major building block, aims to make student mobility as easy and seamless as possible.
While technical interoperability issues were addressed throughout 2023, the challenges related to institutional strategies and process revisions came back into focus. Successful digital transformation requires joint reflection, a shared responsibility to act and robust support to the sector to ensure that no institution is left behind.
Collaboration with the sector thrived in 2023, leading to the selection of EWP Champions who share best practices and who came to Brussels for a first meeting in December.
The project team created guides on digital Erasmus+ learning and inter-institutional agreements based on input from 500 higher education institutions. Additional support actions included starting an EWP Newsletter and providing peer-to-peer support and discussions in the EWP Users Groups.
Continuous development and increased usage
On the technical front, an Erasmus+ App update improved user-friendliness for students, and updates to the EWP network in response to feedback about inter-institutional agreements were prepared in close cooperation with development teams involved in EWP.
As a result, and thanks to the collective efforts of the EWP community, the number of digital agreements increased substantially.
Completed inter-institutional agreements (IIAs) and learning agreements (LAs) both increased by around 100,000 agreements, bringing the total to 145,500 IIAs and 174,000 LAs by the end of the year.
The data indicates that in 2023, around 40% of digital learning agreements were completed via the EWP network while the Erasmus+ App recorded around 30,000 new downloads.
Key focus areas for advancing EWP in 2024
While 2023 saw these improvements for EWP users, challenges remain to have all institutions using EWP exclusively for their Erasmus+ agreements in an efficient and user-friendly manner.
Looking ahead to 2024, EWP network updates in spring will enable new functionalities for managing IIAs and enforce clearer standards in line feedback received from users. Once completed, the focus will shift to LAs and factsheet updates.
Another Erasmus+ App update will also take place in early 2024 to further improve user friendliness and support for students, for example with finding accommodation.
Targeted support to institutions not yet exchanging data will remain a top priority in 2024. This includes actions where EWP champions will demonstrate how they manage digital agreements.
The project will place a special focus on increasing the share of digital learning agreements via the EWP network. Every year, hundreds of thousands of students need to have their learning agreements approved by both the sending and receiving institution. As a result, the impact of each institution not yet exchanging learning agreements via EWP is very high for both staff and students.
If your institution needs support to start exchanging digital learning agreements in 2024, check out the support materials and services available on the ESCI portal.