the European Student Card in 2022

1. The European Student Card

From a bottom up project to an instrument offered by the European Commission to the Higher Education community

The European Commission launched the European Student Card Initiative (ESCI) which aims at facilitating student mobility around Europe by promoting the digitalisation of administrative procedures and information exchange between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and their students. In addition, it aims at making the management of mobility easier, more efficient and greener. This initiative brings together three important building blocks: the Erasmus+ App, the Erasmus Without Paper and the European Student Card (ESC).

The journey of the European Student Card started back in 2016 as an EU-funded project which provided students with easy access to services in an integrated way, with no need to issue a new student card. Since then, the European Student Card is highlighted as a key instrument for facilitating student mobility under the European Education Area by 2025 and the Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027.

2. State-of-play of the ESC deployment

Since 2016, when the European Student Card pilot project was launched, a total of 470 HEIs from 27 Erasmus+ Programme countries have connected to the ESC Router (ESC-R)
The goal of the European Commission is to extend this reach to a total of 33 countries (i.e. Erasmus+ programme countries) and to have, by 2025, as many students as possible accessing the ESC in all Erasmus+ Programme Countries [1].

3. A new contract to roll out the ESC across Erasmus+ countries

To reach the objectives set for the ESCI, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) awarded a framework contract to NTT DATA to develop, implement and support the ESC (Lot 2). CNOUS, the former coordinator of the ESC pilot project, is working closely with NTT DATA for a smooth handover and knowledge transfer.
Some of the services that are currently being delivered as part of this contract will set the foundations for the full deployment of the ESC across Europe. See some examples below.

Main highlights of the contract, source: NTT DATA

[1] European Student Card Initiative Official Page, last accessed on 31/05/2022 and available at:


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