The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) provides the general quality framework for European and international cooperation activities a higher education institution (HEI) may carry out within the Erasmus+ Programme.
There are over 200 HEIs in the UK holding an ECHE – please see the current list of ECHE holders.
All types of UK HEI can apply for the ECHE, including post-secondary level vocational education institutions and those offering courses at foundation/HND level or above, up to and including doctorates.
However, it is an eligibility requirement for UK universities and other organisations whose core work is in the field of higher education to hold the ECHE in order to participate in Erasmus+.
A Call for Proposals for the award of the ECHE is held annually and is awarded to HEIs for the full remaining duration of the Erasmus+ programme (i.e. until the end of 2020). This means that HEIs awarded with an ECHE in previous Call years (since 2013) do not need to apply again.
Applications are dealt with by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. The final decision on the award of the ECHE, or rejection of an application, is taken by the European Commission on the basis of the recommendations of the ECHE Evaluation Committee.
HEIs in other countries
Before applying for Erasmus+ funding or participating in Erasmus+ projects, HEIs in other programme countries must first ensure that they have signed the ECHE.
For HEIs located in partner countries, the ECHE is not required. The quality framework will be established through inter-institutional agreements between HEIs.
Implementing the Charter requirements
The ECHE sets out the basic rules for HEIs to ensure transparency, fairness, recognition and effectiveness in student mobility.
The ECHE annotated guidelines (127 KB) outline the requirements the HEI must fulfil to comply with the ECHE principles. HEIs must respect all the provisions of the ECHE during the implementation of the project. Violation of any of the ECHE principles and commitments may lead to its withdrawal by the European Commission.
The UK National Agency is mandated to ensure that UK HEIs which have received the ECHE abide by what they have promised. Compliance of the HEI with the ECHE principles is monitored by the UK National Agency through a variety of measures. Please refer to the ECHE Monitoring guide, which instructs the National Agencies in these activities for more information. You can also find a UK National Agency report published in 2019 which gives an overview of the findings of 2018 quality audits and highlights areas of best practice (361 KB).
The ECHE self-assessment tool shows you how well your institution is implementing the principles of the ECHE and which areas could be strengthened. It generates tailor-made reports with a visual overview of your institution's performance, plus specific suggestions on how to further improve the implementation of the ECHE.