What does the Turing Scheme mean for U.K. students ?
What is the Turing Scheme ?
The Turing Scheme is a new British student exchange program brought in to replace the existing European Erasmus+ scheme that the U.K. departed after the Brexit transition period finished at the end of 2020.
What is Erasmus+ and why did Britain leave?
Erasmus+ is the European Union’s (EU) program to support education, training, youth, and sport across Europe and beyond. Under the scheme, students from participating countries could receive funding to study, train, and gain experience in other participating countries, which are generally, but not necessarily, in the EU. Although the U.K. could have continued to participate in the scheme after it left the EU, ministers decided to end their involvement, citing its high costs, and announced they would replace it with the Turing Scheme.
So what is the Turing Scheme that will replace it?
According to the U.K. government, under the new scheme thousands of students will be able to study and do work placements across the world starting in September 2021. They say it will be backed by £100 million in funding, offering around 35,000 students the opportunity to study or work abroad in countries around the world, as opposed to the EU-focused Erasmus+ initiative. Officials say it will provide “similar opportunities” to Erasmus+ but will include countries “across the world”.
U.K. organizations have been invited to bid for Turing Scheme funding in early 2021 - so you should contact your university to see if they are involved in the scheme. The official website was launched in February 2021, with applications open to institutions from 12 March until 9 April for Higher Education organizations, and 7 May for Further Education and vocational schemes. You can find out more, ask questions and sign up for email updates, at the website, here : turing-scheme.org.uk.
What does the Turing Scheme mean for me, and should I apply?
Successful applications to the Turing Scheme will mean students will be able to receive grants to help with the costs of their international experience of studying or working abroad and institutions will be able to accept students in exchange from international partners as part of the program. So if you are a student at a British university and want to study abroad, this is the scheme you will likely need to apply to, although your university may have other reciprocal agreements with other institutions that allow you to study outside the U.K.
How much funding to study abroad could I receive if I obtain a place on the Turing Scheme?
For placements lasting between four and eight weeks you may receive £136 per week or £120 per week, depending on your destination. For those lasting more than eight weeks, you may receive £380 or £335 per month, plus any additional funding granted for travel costs or those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Turing Scheme funding is not available for tuition fees as there is an expectation that institutions will agree on tuition fee waivers with their partner institutions abroad.
Is the Turing Scheme only open to university students?
Participation in the scheme isn’t just limited to those studying university courses - those in practical vocations may also pursue traineeships, while school pupils aged 14 and above can apply to spend a term abroad.
Is the scheme only open to U.K. citizens?
No. International students attending a participating U.K. institution may also apply to the scheme if they wish to study abroad in addition to completing a course in Britain.
How long will placements last?
Placements awarded as part of higher education may run from four weeks to a year, but shorter-term placements are available for those who find it too impractical or expensive to spend a long period of time studying abroad.
Will I need to apply for a visa to study abroad using the Turing Scheme?
Yes. One advantage of the U.K. being a member of the European Union and its Erasmus+ scheme was that students did not have to apply for a visa to study in other member states. As the U.K. is no longer a member, students will have to apply for a visa to study in the EU, as they would in other countries around the world. Gaining a place on the Turing Scheme does not count as a student visa itself, but is likely to be useful when applying for a student visa.
Who should look to apply to the Turing Scheme?
The Turing Scheme is open to everyone but the government is hoping to encourage more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for the scheme - so if you are someone worried about the financial implications of studying abroad, are from a disadvantaged background, or are a refugee living in the U.K., you may be able to receive additional support on top of a grant that will match Erasmus+ rates. This can be used to help meet travel expenses, including visas, passports, and health insurance.
Will I need travel and medical insurance to study abroad?
Yes. Proving you are medically insured will be a condition of your visa. British citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will be able to access medical services for free in the EU, so if you are studying there as part of the Turing Scheme you will be covered. Otherwise, you will need to prove you have travel and health insurance. It is a good idea to ensure you have decent insurance coverage if studying abroad as you will be away from home for a long period and do not want any mishaps affecting your studies.
How can AXA help?
AXA provides comprehensive and affordable international health and travel insurance for students looking to continue their education outside their home country.
Frequently asked questions about the Turing Scheme
The Turing Scheme website notes: “If COVID-19 persists into Autumn 2021 and beyond we will consider funding alternative contingency arrangements.”
Announcements for funding are expected in July.
Details of institutions partaking in the scheme will be published on its website or you can contact your university.