Irish students will be able to benefit from discounts and special deals across the EU once a new European Student Card is rolled out, according to Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey. The e-card is a key initiative of the European Education Area, which aims to remove barriers to learning and improve access to quality education for all. The card will ensure interoperability, connectivity and mobility between higher education institutions both within their home country and across Europe and is already available to those taking part in Erasmus+. All students will have access to the card by 2025.
The Midlands-North-West MEP said the initiative has many advantages for both students and higher education institutions:
“This e-card will basically make it easier for students to study abroad. They’ll be able to register quicker, get faster access to services such as libraries, accommodation or transport and enjoy discounts on special deals and cultural activities. It will also give students the chance to access online courses and services provided at other higher education institutions. For colleges themselves, the card will help cut out unnecessary paperwork and allow for a more simplified and secure exchange of student data between universities. During the pilot phase, the streamlined digital service reduced the administrative workload by up to 50 per cent”, he commented.
MEP Markey wrote to the European Commission following a survey, which revealed a lack of awareness around the initiative. The study, by the European Campus Card Association, found that 70 per cent of students ‘didn’t know’ about the plan while 40 per cent of higher education institutions were only ‘somewhat aware’.
“I was delighted to receive a response from the Commission which confirmed that a Consortium will provide a detailed communication plan and outreach strategy on the European Student Card over the next two years to engage with all stakeholders. The initiative will also be promoted during the 2022 European Year of Youth, and will be at the core of a new European Strategy for Universities, to be presented by the Commission next week. I look forward to engaging with the Commission further to ensure the European Student Card becomes a reality for all by 2025”, Markey concluded.