The Turing Scheme was brought into effect in the wake of Brexit. It is a student exchange programme aimed at providing students with the chance to experience new cultures and embrace different learning styles and gives universities the opportunity to build lasting relationships with institutions abroad.
What is the Turing Scheme?
The Turing Scheme is a student exchange programme in the UK. The scheme is named after the English mathematician Alan Turing. The programme was introduced to allow students to study elements of their course abroad and replaced the previously established Erasmus Programme in the wake of Brexit. The Turing scheme is managed by the UK government.
After Brexit, the UK was no longer permitted to use the Erasmus Programme. The Erasmus Programme was developed by the European Union (EU), meaning that the UK would need to develop their own system in its stead.
Who was Alan Turing?
Alan Turing was a British mathematician. Turing was many things, including a computer scientist, a cryptanalyst, a logician and a theoretical biologist.
Although Turing was known for many different things, he is best known for his work in World War II. In World War II, he worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where he worked in breaking cyphers and codes, which allowed the Allies to work to defeat the Axis powers.
What financial support is offered for the Turing Scheme?
Everyone who applies for the Turing Programme will receive a grant towards their living costs. The payment method will depend on where you are attending, as some may prefer to give you cash, while others may have a different way of providing you with funds.
The money you receive towards accommodation depends on where you are going. Different international destinations are split into groups:
- Group 1: High cost of living.
- Group 2: Medium cost of living.
- Group 3: Low cost of living.
The Turing grants available to students for 2023/24 are:
|Group||4 to 8 weeks||9 weeks to 12 months|
|Group 1 destinations||£135.25 per week/£545 per month.||£380 per month.|
|Group 2 destinations||£120 per week/£480 per month.||£335 per month.|
Education grants for accommodations are offered for up to 12 months of travel. Unless your travel is considered “exceptionally expensive”, it is not covered, although disadvantaged students may have travel supported in some cases.
Students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds will also receive funding. Disadvantaged students will also receive funding towards expenses, health insurance, passports, travel and visas.
The rate of funding is also slightly higher:
|Group||4 to 8 weeks||9 weeks to 12 months|
|Group 1 destinations||£163.75 per week/£655 per month.||£490 per month.|
|Group 2 destinations||£147.50 per week/£590 per month.||£445 per month.|
You will still receive student finance when you are abroad. Your tuition fee will be paid to you in line with your study abroad placements. You will also continue to receive grants even when abroad.
Who is eligible for the Turing Scheme?
The scheme is open to any student who wishes to study it, provided they are currently studying in the UK. That means any student of any nationality can apply for the Turing Scheme.
Despite this, your university needs to be actively using the scheme. To explain correctly, not all universities will participate in the Turing Scheme, and not all universities will offer it every year. A university has to “bid” for a share of the grant money provided by the government.
Assuming your university is taking part in the Turing Scheme, it will be up to them who takes part. Each university’s application procedure is different; some may even change yearly.
What countries are included in the Turing Scheme?
At the time of writing, as many as 162 nations are included in the Turing Scheme. That is not to say that all 162 nations are necessarily open for students to access in 2023/24.
English-speaking countries are hugely popular with the Turing Scheme. This is so that students can communicate easily and do not have to rely on a language they are not familiar with.
Do Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all take part in the Turing Scheme?
This can vary. All countries in the UK can use the Turing Scheme, as all countries in the UK are affected by Brexit and no longer have access to the Erasmus programme. Despite this, some may have their own options available to students.
Northern Ireland is the only country in the UK that can still use the Erasmus programme. The Irish government said they would still support Northern Irish students looking to participate in the Erasmus programme.
To do so, students must register with a university or college in the Republic of Ireland. Of course, students are also still free to use the Turing Scheme if they wish to.
Scotland is still trying to develop its own student exchange programme. Scottish universities do have access to the Turing Scheme, but a new scheme has yet to be forthcoming.
Scotland, unlike Northern Ireland, does not still have access to the Erasmus programme. However, there is a feeling among many in government that a Scottish Education Exchange Programme may pilot at some point in the upcoming academic year.
Wales does have access to the Turing Scheme. However, Wales also runs its own international student exchange programme, which is called Taith.
Taith is not just for students. Teachers, researchers and support staff are also permitted to use the scheme (unlike the Turing Scheme).
Has the Ukraine war affected the Turing Scheme?
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised against travelling to Ukraine. The FCDO has also advised against travel to Belarus and Russia.
Returning flights is also a major issue. Owing to the conflict in Ukraine and Russia, the FCDO has advised that return flights to the UK from Russia may be difficult to come by and has also pointed to the potential destabilisation of the Russian economy at this time.