Why should I study in Italy?

The country of love, art, food and history located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea...

How to Study in Italy

Italy is located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Because of its shape people often talk about Italy as “lo Stivale”, the boot. The unitary parliamentary republic is subdivided into 20 regions. The capital Rome and the cities Milan, Naples, Turin, Palermo and Genoa are known as highly attractive holiday places.

Italy’s Higher Education System

The higher education system in Italy has universities, Institutes for Higher Artistic Education (AFAM) as well as Higher Technical Institutes (ITS, Istituti Tecnici Superiori). At the universities and AFAMs Institutes can award three kind of degrees: Bachelor, master and doctoral degrees by universities, and first level, second level and research (third) level diplomas for Higher Artistic Education. At the IT’S THE students can award a “Diploma di Tecnico Superiore” in combination with an EUROPASS diploma supplement.

In Italy there are 52 public and 36 private universities.

Italian Higher Education System in International Comparison

In this section, we highlight the overall performance of Italian universities on the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. The below table shows the national breakdown of Italian universities and how they stand across the spectrum of above average (receiving a score of ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good)), or below average (receiving a score of ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak)). In doing so, U-Multirank offers a clear picture on the strengths of Italy, and areas for improvement.

Particular strengths of the Italian higher education system are research and their regional engagement. For research 69 percent of the Italian universities are above the average, while more than the half (55 per cent) are above the average in the dimension regional engagement.

National performance: Italy

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 31% 36% Research 14% 71% Knowledge Transfer 60% 31% International Orientation 30% 44% Regional Engagement 20% 64%

How much does it cost to study in Italy?

Tuition fees in Italy are determined on the kind of degree and subject/programme you wish to pursue as well as the private or public character of a higher education institution and are family-income dependent. Tuition fees range between 900 EUR to 4,000 EUR at public universities, while private universities charge 6,000 EUR up to 20,000 EUR per year. For more information click here.

Addition of information on fees and financial support

Source: Eurydice 
Reference year(s): 2020/2021


In this section we highlight the fees for studying in Italy. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.

  • First- and second-cycle: higher education institutions (HEIs) set their fees at the beginning of the academic year, differentiating according to the students' socio-economic background, field of studies, cycle, study status – full-time or part-time – and year of registration (the amounts displayed on the diagram were calculated based on actual data for the academic year 2018/19). The minimum fee is EUR 200 in 2020/21. HEIs are obliged to exempt students benefiting from student support, and may also exempt on the basis of merit.
  • Fees for short-cycle higher education programmes vary depending on the provider.
  • International students, defined as students from outside EU/EFTA/EEA, pay the same fees as national students.

Source: Eurydice - National Student Fees and Support Systems in European Higher Education – 2020/21.

Financial Support

In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in Italy. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances.  How these terms are defined, are outlined below:

  • Grants are provided in the national currency and are differentiated between merit-based and need-based (or universal, where applicable). All main public financial support that does not need to be paid back is included, with the exception of grants for study abroad (i.e. mobility grants). Information is also presented on the proportion of students (in the short, first and second cycle) who receive grants.
  • Loans: information focuses on the existence of a student publicly-subsidised loan system and the percentage of students that take out a loan. Information on the interest rate and modalities for the repayment of loans may also be provided.
  • Tax benefit is any tax relief that is granted to parents whose child is a higher education student or to students themselves. The information aims to cover the amount of the tax relief, how it can be claimed and who is eligible to apply.
  • Family allowances for students' parents: this part provides information on their amount and the eligible population.
  • Public grants are allocated on the basis of both economic need and academic merit. The amount depends on whether the student lives with her/his parents and is defined, within the range mentioned in the diagram above, by the regional authorities. The ministry sets the minimum and maximum amount of the grant for each new academic year. For 2020/21, the minimum amount of the grant is EUR 1,981.75 and the maximum amount EUR 5,257.74. Since Law 232/2016, the Fund for scholarships (FIS) of the Ministry of University and Research has increased every year and consequently also the number of scholarships awarded to students. The decree law of 19. May 2020, n. 34 (art. 236, c. 4) has further increased the FIS by EUR 40 million.
  • There are 'honour loans' available to students to undertake their university studies. Universities have agreements with banks and guarantee the loans. Fewer than 1% of first- and second-cycle full-time students take out a loan.
  • Tax benefits are applicable only if the child is tax dependent on his/her parents. A deduction of 19% of the amount of expenses for attending higher education can be made. The same tax benefit applies to students with an income.
  • No family allowances for students' parents are in place.

How to get a Scholarship in Italy?

No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Italy. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.

What are the entry requirements for Italian Universities?

For members from an EU/EEA country there is no Italian student visa needed. To be eligible for enrollment in the Italian university system, you must be at least 17 years old and have completed 12 years of schooling. Once you have selected your Italian degree program, verify if it requires an admission test. Entry to undergraduate degree programs can either be restricted or open, or can be subject to a motivational test or entry examination. Proof of academic eligibility for University study in the country of origin (check Recognition of Qualifications);
Two photographs, one of which is authenticated by the competent Italian diplomatic/consular representation;
Italian Proficiency Requirements or English certificates according to the language of the program.
Demonstration of knowledge of Italian language skills is mandatory for enrolling at Universities and Institutions of Higher Education in Italy for all courses in Italian.

Do I need a Student Visa for Italy?

If you are an EU citizen or come from EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), you must not apply for a residence permit. However, if you are going to stay in Italy for over a 3 months period, you should register with the Anagrafe (Register office) of your municipality of residence

Students with a Non-EU citizenship have to apply for a student visa. Therefore you have to contact the Italian Consulate. Which kind of VISA you need is depending on how long you plan to stay in Italy and what you will study. There are these following visa types that could be interesting for you:

  1. Short stay visa – type C – if you apply for a language course that lasts up to 90 days
  2. Long stay (national) visa – type D, for study purposes – if you apply for any degree course that has at least 20 hours of courses per week (or 80 hours a month).

Send your application to the Italian embassy or consulate in your country. The processing of your application may take up between 1 and 3 weeks. In order to receive a student visa for Italy, there are no specific language requirements. Since this is one of the mandatory conditions for admission in an Italian university, consulates do not consider applicants should present any proof of language proficiency as well. However, visa officers will be more impressed and will appreciate if you speak Italian at least on a basic level. For more information click here.


How do Italian universities fare in U-Multirank?

  1. In its 2022 edition, U-Multirank covers 82 higher education institutions from Italy.
  2. Italian higher education institutions show a strong performance in the dimensions of Research and Regional Engagement.
  3. The nine Italian institutions with more than ten top positions (‘A’ scores) are Bocconi University (15), followed by Humanitas University (14), IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca (13), Politecnico di Bari (12), Università IULM (12), Polytechnic University of Turin (12), and, with 11 ‘A’ scores, University of Siena, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and University of Camerino.
  4. These top performers have a specific profile. Bocconi University is strongest in the dimension International Orientation (six ‘A’ scores’); for Humanitas University, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Politecnico di Bari and Università IULM, Research is the strongest single dimension.

Here you can find the current Italian country report.

Italy's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

Where to study in Italy

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