New EWP Back to the Future White Paper

New EWP Back to the Future White Paper

For over a decade, Erasmus Without Paper (EWP) has led the digital transformation of the administration of student mobility in Europe. What began as an ambitious initiative by a group of forward-thinking universities has now evolved into the world’s most advanced digital ecosystem for student mobility, with nearly 100% of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) involved in student mobility across the continent already connected to EWP.

Since its unveiling in December 2018, EWP has made significant strides in bringing student mobility administration into the digital age. Yet, transitioning from old-fashioned, paper-based systems to digital workflows hasn’t been without its challenges, presenting obstacles for both International Relations Officers (IROs) and institutions. Nonetheless, the dedication of colleagues across Europe underscores just how important digitalisation is for improving the mobility experience.

The release of the “EWP Back to the Future” White Paper is packed with ambitious yet realistic recommendations for the years ahead, shaped by extensive consultations with around 500 universities held over several months. These suggestions aim to simplify and advance processes, moving beyond just digitising and instead fully embracing digitalisation.

Simplify, simplify, simply! 

A key focus of the White Paper is on exploring how existing Erasmus+ processes should be simplified and re-designed in a digital context to further improve the Erasmus mobility experience for students and International Relations Officers alike. Recommendations like streamlined nomination processes or the use of the same IIA and LA templates/data models for mobilities also beyond Erasmus+ programme countries are designed to boost efficiency and lighten the administrative load for IROs and institutions.

Saving millions of hours of work

The White Paper illustrates how digitalisation can lead to tangible efficiency gains. Proposals like the one-click renewal process for Inter-Institutional Agreements show how we can save up to 1 million hours of work and millions of euros in administrative costs. Furthermore, the paper covers other areas beyond core mobility processes, including grade conversion, access to course data, staff mobility, and the adoption of digital student cards.

Smarter Regulation

Recognising that technical solutions are only one piece of the puzzle, the White Paper advocates for smarter regulation to ensure digitalisation efforts are both successful and sustainable. The White Paper proposes an approach towards setting clear rules and deadlines, a pathway towards ensuring rather stronger quality controls, and advocates for a framework of data portability that would allow to avoidi vendor lock-in and boost the overall quality of the services that Higher education institutions receive from their software providers. By laying this strong foundation for stability and predictability, the paper aims to foster positive and strong impact of the digital transformation in higher education.

To delve deeper into the findings and recommendations of the White Paper, we invite you to read the full document here.

If you would like to hear more about this important discussion, watch the recording of the special webinar that we organised on May 23rd.