Up to 7,000 European students will get bus, train or plane tickets to any EU country under a plan unveiled by the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union.
But the commission said a suggestion by the European Parliament to give out InterRail passes, beloved of young backpackers travelling across Europe, would have cost far too much.
"The commission has estimated that such an initiative would cost between 1.2 billion euros and 1.6 billion euros a year. This kind of funding is currently not available," it said in a statement.
The new scheme will cost just a small fraction of that -- 2.5 million euros ($2.7 million), the commission said.
The centre-right European People's Party, the biggest group in the EU Parliament, called the decision a "missed opportunity".
It had been a champion of the proposal when MEPs voted in favour of it last year.
But he said that the free InterRail plan was "far from being dead" and that his group would continue to push for it.
Launched in 1972, InterRail passes were initially designed for young passengers but are now available for all age groups.
The commission said the scaled-down "Move2Learn, Learn2Move" programme would give 5,000 to 7,000 students an entitlement for tickets worth 350 to 530 euros.
The students will be picked from schools taking part in an online project matching students and teachers for joint projects across Europe.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.