- How to facilitate access to mobility opportunities?
Scholarship schemes may differ in terms of target, period or modality (physical vs virtual)Diversification among schemes provides wider opportunities for students who can choose the mobility option that best matches their motivation,academic path or geographical preference.
Virtual exchange is an excellent, innovative and accessible way of experiencing international context by all students, including disabled or disprivileged. Moreover, the use of technology can be very supportive to students during and/or after completion of their academic route, and can complement (or substitute) a physical mobility period lowering the financial burden on the student.
Furthermore, HEIs cooperating within virtual as well as any other exchange schemes will be able to enhance their project proposal/management and financial capacity in order to complement other ad-hoc internal funds to provide quality international mobility experience to as many students as possible.
- How to rethink university scholarships to improve equity, diversity and inclusion?
As HEIs and granting agencies move to increase equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), scholarship schemes should reconcile with these values. Some tips on what to take into consideration.
Value staff member’s participation in evaluation committees to ensure a fair contribution of staff members, offer reduced workloads (committees, administrative aspects, teaching, etc.) and express its importance. Make sure that committee exists of a diverse pool of members.
Reinterpret the notion of excellence in which a broad range of skills is appraised, acknowledging alternative career paths, non curricular activities and commitments, and the balance between academic and personal life. Disclose inequities and consequently encourage creation of opportunities and teaching practices that will allow marginalized individuals to enjoy equal participation and success.
Keep EDI in your mind, sharing thoughtful knowledge exchange and constantly evaluating processes and procedures ensuring their sustainability. Develop a safe space to discuss EDI and follow seminars, training sessions to stay updated, and maybe the most important, take inspiration and learn from non-university organizations like community groups. Involve them, give them a chance to be your mentor.
- How can I apply for mobility grants on behalf of my university? What are the most important granting institutions?
You may apply to some private, public, national or international grant institutions. At EU level, the most important granting institutions is The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency which manage following programmes:
The European Solidarity Corps
The Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values programme (CERV).
- Does the HEIs or other institutions should respect some eligibility criteria in order to apply for mobility grants?
When you apply for a grant on behalf of the HEIs, you should respect eligibility criteria established by each granting institution.
The eligibility criteria mainly relate to the type of project and activities, the target group and number of potential candidates involved, the quality of proposed activities, the conditions for submitting a grant request, deadlines for submission, and completeness of the application.
Moreover, the granting institution may evaluate your application on the basis of some award criteria, such as relevance of the proposal, quality of project design and implementation, quality of project team and cooperation arrangements.
- How can I financially support mobile candidates during their period abroad?
Inform in advance about criteria and timing of distribution of scholarships available.
Make timely payments. Make students aware on how to manage their budget while abroad and cope with possible emergencies.
Gather extra opportunities to make the most of a stay abroad (e.g. extension of the period with the possibility of being funded in order to allow completion of an activity at the same destination despite different programs).
Manage the available budget accurately through regular monitoring and combining various funds. However, avoid funds duplication where applicable, simultaneously be flexible when resources are available and applicable.
Consult the ministerial/university regulations, report obligations and share with relevant stakeholders at university level (didactic authorities, quality assurance, governance etc.).
- What criteria should I take into account when I am going to distribute grants among different scholarship schemes?
Pay attention to criteria of funds distribution (geographical destination, disadvantaged background, merit) originating from various granting institutions.
Financial sources for disadvantaged people can be connected to the standard scholarship. Be aware of diversification of funds which may be necessary (e.g. a specific fund may be dependent on achieving a certain number of formative credits and may not be used in all cases, for instance for recent graduates).
- Are mobility scholarships compatible with other scholarships or any other types of income?
Consult relevant info/guide on possible incompatibilities both at the university and grant institution’s level (e.g Erasmus scholarships are incompatible with other scholarships granted by other European institutions).
Consult regulations in terms of taxation of the scholarship (in most cases/countries scholarships for mobility periods are not subject to taxation and are compatible with work activity).
- How can I support zero-grant candidates?
Bilateral agreements/exchange schemes should also provide to “zero” grant students a number of profitable benefits such as access to accommodation services, facilities, language courses for free or for a symbolic fee as well as other services offered by student organisations (e.g. orientation days, various discounts, social meetings).
- Can I choose the criteria to define the students eligible for mobility scholarships?
Most of the criteria should be determined at the grant institution’s level or ministerial/university level but some criteria may be defined to enhance participation (e.g. prizes, contributions for the students who might fulfill outstanding formative results).
- How to support mobile candidates and participants in financial hardship?
Encourage students to share their experience by creating a safe space for them, breaking the money taboo.
By feeding into that safe space it will in its turn create a brave space for students in which there would be no guilt and shame by going through financial hardship and asking for help.
That vulnerability is a first step in being brave and will create light at the end of the tunnel. Furthermore, as a staff member, seek for guidance within the institution as well; your HEI could decide to provide payments in different installments for instance; Come up with a possible and personalized solution; Check if there’s an emergency fund to support students in financial hardship; Support students through learning materials provided by existing literature (e.g. DIGIPASS) etc.