Study at a foreign university was the most popular choice, with around two-thirds studying at undergraduate level, while some 55,000 students – around 20% – took up Erasmus job placements in foreign companies.
The three most popular destinations were Spain, France and Germany
A further 52,624 higher education staff received grants to teach or train abroad.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said that Erasmus is “more popular than ever”.
“As well as contributing to a sense of belonging to the European family, the skills which Erasmus promotes also help students to boost their employability and career prospects,” she added.
The three most popular destinations were also the three top sending countries. Spain was the most popular destination by some margin, welcoming 40,202 Erasmus students – around 1,000 more than it sent out. France and Germany both sent around 35,000 students and hosted around 30,000.
In contrast, the UK received almost double the number of students that it sent overseas – 27,182 compared to 14,572.
The number of outbound students increased in almost all countries in the EU. Malta saw the biggest increase of 40%, with Cyprus (36%), Croatia (27%) and Turkey (22%) also seeing notable increases.
Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Finland, Latvia and Spain sent the highest numbers of students as a proportion of their graduate populations.
Average monthly funding increased by 9% compared with the previous year to €272, in some countries ‘topped up’ by national, regional or institutional funds, and additional funding went to 388 students with special needs or disabilities, up from 336 in 2011-12.
“Our new Erasmus+ programme will enable even more young people to study, train, work or volunteer abroad in the next seven years”
Under the Erasmus programme, students could apply for grants to study in another European country for between three and 12 months, and the latest statistics show the average time spent abroad is six months.
In 2012-13, 61% of Erasmus students were female and the average age was 22.
“For 27 years, Erasmus has enabled students to spend time abroad to broaden their horizons and improve their skills,” Vassiliou said. “Our new Erasmus+ programme will enable even more young people to study, train, work or volunteer abroad in the next seven years.”
The new Erasmus+ programme, which replaces Erasmus and a number of smaller EU mobility schemes, was launched in January and will provide grants for four million students, staff and researchers between 2014 and 2020.