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EIF and MicroBank sign first ERASMUS+ Master Student Loan agreement in Europe to support mobile master students

    Date: 11 June 2015

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and MicroBank have signed the very first Erasmus+ guarantee agreement in Europe to provide a total of EUR 30m of loans to mobile master students.  The Erasmus+ Master’s Loan is aimed at Spanish university students who enrol in Master’s programmes at European universities, and likewise European students who enrol at Spanish universities.  The loan is provided at favourable conditions thanks to the EU support.


The agreement between the EIF and MicroBank is the first one in Europe under the new Erasmus+ loan guarantee scheme financed by the European Union and managed by the European Commission. Thanks to EU support, this new Erasmus+ guarantee scheme allows EIF to provide capped guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial intermediaries which in turn grant loans to students who will move to undertake a master’s degree in another country taking part in the Erasmus+ programme. It is expected that under this new programme approximately EUR 3bn of loans will be mobilised to benefit around 200,000 students by 2020.

Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "I am very pleased to see the first bank sign up to our new scheme. This shows that we can open up innovative sources of support to young people wanting to study abroad. I welcome MicroBank as the pioneer in this important project and I encourage other banks across Europe to join in. This will offer young people more opportunities to enhance their skills and develop their personalities, while fostering stronger economic growth as well as dialogue and mutual understanding.”


EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “Higher education and student mobility are important drivers of growth and innovation in Europe. With our new programme, the Erasmus+ Master Student Loan Guarantee Facility, we aim at bridging the existing financing gap students experience when deciding whether to pursue a Master's degree in another country. Together with our long-term partner MicroBank, I am confident that we will increase the mobility of high-potential students across the EU.”


MicroBank President, Antoni Vila Bertrán said: “Through the agreement with the EIF in the framework of the Erasmus+ Master’s Loan programme, MicroBank can offer a new financing opportunities adapted to the needs of students wishing to study a Masters programme in another EU country. We are confident that as a result of these loans, more students will be able to choose this option in order to increase their academic capabilities, improving their future employability prospects or their ability to start new companies, therefore generating growth and jobs. With the launching of the new Erasmus+ Master’s Loan programme, we are supporting three basic objectives of our bank: improving access to finance for those who need it, contributing to personal development and encouraging job creation.”


As moving abroad to study for a Master’s programme is typically costly, students are often faced with a severe lack of financing. According to a representative market study undertaken by MicroBank, 84% of the undergraduate students who were interviewed are interested to pursue a Master’s degree. 74% of this group would like to pursue their advanced studies in a different country and 36% perceive access to finance as the most significant barrier in pursuing Master’s studies abroad. And yet, these mobile students are expected to make an increasingly important contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. Therefore, the Erasmus+ Master Student Loans address an important financing gap for students with high potential.


Master students who are interested in obtaining finance under this new programme can get further information at www.microbanklacaixa.com or at any of the local branches of CaixaBank in Spain.

EIF has launched a Call for Expression of Interest targeting financial institutions and other intermediaries which provide finance to mobile master students. Interested financial institutions can find further information on the programme and application process on EIF’s website at www.eif.org.


About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. EIF’s total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 8.8 billion at end 2014. With investments in over 500 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. EIF’s guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6 billion in over 350 operations at end 2014, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.


About Erasmus + Master Loans

The Erasmus+ programme, of which the Erasmus+ Master Student Loan Guarantee Facility is part, is the biggest mover of students in the EU, with around 300.000 higher education students and staff studying, working or undertaking a traineeship in another European country every year. It is managed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and its executive agency. The DG's activities in education are also framed by the Education and Training 2020 strategy (ET2020), which contributes on education to the Europe 2020 strategy, designed to promote growth and jobs in Europe.


About MicroBank

MicroBank is the social bank within ”la Caixa” Group that specialises in microcredit. It is the only bank in Spain dedicated exclusively to financing projects via microcredits.  The bank pioneered this business model in the country and remains the leading financer of projects via microloans. The bank offers microloans to the self-employed, entrepreneurs and microbusinesses. It also provides personal and family microloans, which are aimed at assisting households to overcome temporary difficulties and supporting personal and family development.  In 2014 MicroBank approved a total of 82,586 loans worth 434.4 million euros.



Press contacts:

EIF: David Yormesor
Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346, e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

MicroBank: Joan Armengol

Tel:+34 93 281 37 57, email: jarmengol@microbanklacaixa.es


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