If you’re looking for affordable degrees in Europe, you should consider studying in Italy. It is home to some of the oldest universities in the world, which offer high quality education and low tuition fees. You will also enjoy traveling and exploring the rich culture and history of Italian cities.
Although tuition fees are affordable, there are other expenses you need to cover, like: accommodation, food, transportation, books, and others.
Tuition fees in public universities
Public universities in Italy set their tuition fees based on discipline and the degree type (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD). On average, tuition ranges between 0 – 5,000 EUR/academic year. If you’re a non-EU/EEA student, some study programmes can demand much higher tuition.
Tuition fees in private universities
Private universities in Italy usually charge higher tuition fees compared to public universities and most of them have the same fees for both EU and non-EU/EEA students. The average tuition fees in private universities range between 3,000 – 35,000 EUR/year.
Most affordable universities in Italy
Check the list of Italian universities with some of the most affordable tuition fees:
- Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria
- University of Camerino
- Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
- University of Pisa
List of University in Italy
Tuition fees at top-ranked Italian universities
Here is a list of average tuition fees at top-ranked Italian universities:
- Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – average tuition fees 4,000 EUR/year
- University of Bologna – average tuition fees 3,000 EUR/year
- University of Padua – average tuition fees 2,600 EUR/year
- Polytechnic University of Milan – average tuition fees 3,900 EUR/year
- University of Trento – average tuition fees 4,000 EUR/year
Scholarships and funding opportunities
Most scholarships in Italy are offered by the government or by the universities. Examples of scholarships you can apply to:
- Italian government scholarships for international students – for all degree levels, and for teachers of Italian as a second language. Scholarships are awarded for three, six, or nine months.
- Some Italian universities such as Politecnico di Milano, University of Padova, Bocconi University, Bologna University, offer scholarship programmes for international students; these are usually between 5,000 and 12,000 EUR/year. You can find more information on the universities’ official websites.
You can also check out the Scholarshipsineurope.com to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
1. Prepare to apply
Before applying to a university in Italy, first, you will need to check if your qualifications are considered eligible for higher education studies in Italy.
- Check the tuition fees and living costs. Cities in Italy might be beautiful, but can be fairly expensive depending on the limits of your budget.
- Contact the university you are interested in and ask for a prior assessment.
- The university will give you feedback regarding your eligibility; if you meet the admission requirements, then you will have to submit a pre-application request to the Italian embassy or consulate in your area.
- The Italian embassy or consulate will submit your application and documents to the Italian higher education institution you chose to apply to.
- The Italian embassy or consulate publishes a list of admitted candidates usually at the end of August.
2. University application tips
Admitted students are usually ranked based on their grade point average (GPA) from their previous studies. Check with the chosen universities and see the minimum grade point you need to obtain in order to qualify for the degree you wish to study.
You may have to attend specific admission exams for certain specialized fields of study, such as:
Students from countries where admission to university is possible after 10 or 11 years of study must prove that they have passed all necessary examinations for two years or one year, in order to reach the total of twelve years of study.
3. Language requirements for Italian university application
Italian universities offer study programmes taught both in Italian and English. However, most English study programmes are available for postgraduate level, Master’s degrees and PhD courses. Within some Italian universities, you may have the option to apply for degrees taught in the Italian language, but take the assignments and exams in English.
Language tests accepted by universities in Italy:
- CILS – exam may be taken in Italy and at Italian Institutes of Culture worldwide
- CELI – take the exam at certified centres in partnership with the University of Perugia
If you apply for a degree taught in English, you will be required to provide proof of English language proficiency. Accepted English certificates are:
- C1 Advanced
Students who can prove that English was the medium of instruction of their Bachelor’s degree (at least for three years) are exempted from providing any English language certification.
4. Required application documents
- Identity document
- Passport type photograph
- Academic transcript
- University application form
- Detailed study programmes/course description (must contain the number of hours of the courses or training activities that you have completed according to your academic curriculum)
- Letter of recommendation
- Letter of motivation
- Language proficiency (English or Italian)
- Portfolio (only for applicants to architecture, urban planning, or any design programme)
- Official score SAT or ACT
5. University application deadlines for Italy
Mid-April to mid-May: contact the Italian embassy/consulate to receive a Letter of Academic Eligibility and Suitability (Dichiarazione di Valoro in Loco (DV)).
Deadlines for applications may vary according to each institution, so always check with the university you are interested in and try to apply as early as possible.
6. Final steps after receiving your acceptance letter
Studying in Italy means a few extra steps after the application process:
- Apply for a visa if you need one (mainly students that come from non-EU countries).
- Apply for a residence permit by registering with the local police (Questura), within eight working days of your arrival in Italy.
- Prepare a health insurance plan that covers at least 30,000 EUR. EU citizens holding a European Health Card (EHC) have access to the same range of medical services as the Italian citizens. Both EU (without an EHC) and non-EU citizens can either pay for a health insurance policy from their home country before they depart for Italy or can purchase one as soon as possible after their arrival. They can also subscribe to the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale – S.S.N.).
- Students must officially enrol in the university after arriving in Italy before they can start their classes.
For more details regarding applying to an Italian university, you can always check the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research.
Non-EU students must apply for the Italian visa
Here is detailed information about the student visa application process for students coming from a non-Eu country:
7. Costs of living in Italy for international students
The overall living costs for international students in Italy range between 700 and 1,000 EUR/month. These costs include: accommodation, food, public transportation, local travel and/or entertainment.
Living in Italy is a great experience, but keep in mind that if you choose Rome or Milan, they are more expensive when compared to other Italian cities. Check the average monthly living expenses for students in these student cities in Italy:
- Bologna: around 750 – 1,100 EUR/month
- Florence: around 850 – 1,300 EUR/month
- Milan and Rome: between 850 and 1,450 EUR/month
You can expect to pay anywhere between 300 – 600 EUR for housing. Prices vary depending on the city in which you live and the type of accommodation. Sharing an apartment with other students is a good way to reduce your monthly expenses. You can also live with a local family and practise your Italian skills while getting to know their tradition and lifestyle.
On average, here are the prices students spend on housing, depending on the type of accommodation:
- Students living alone: 400 – 700 EUR/month
- Students living in student accommodation: 250 – 300 EUR/month
- Students sharing a rented apartment: 250 – 500 EUR/month
Don’t forget to take into account utilities, which can add between 90 – 260 EUR to your monthly expenses.
You will spend around 150 – 200 EUR/month if you buy groceries from local supermarkets. Lidl, Penny Market or Esselunga have some of the lowest prices.
In Italian restaurants, lunch or dinner start with antipasto, (a sort of appetisers or hors d’oeuvres) a course consisting of various types of cold meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, with prices between 8 and 15 EUR.
In mid-range restaurants, pasta dishes are between 6 and 12 EUR, while the main fish or meat courses will normally cost between 8 and 16 EUR.
You should be aware of an important detail: any Italian restaurant will charge you for the bread and cover; this usually costs around 1 – 2.50 EUR per person.
Public transport is the easiest and most convenient method to travel in Italy. A monthly bus/tram/metro ticket for students is somewhere between 25 and 45 EUR/month, depending on the city.
The train network in Italy is fast and well maintained, so visiting other cities is definitely an option. Fares start at around 20 EUR for a trip, but if you book tickets earlier, you could get discounts of up to 70%.
Extra costs when studying in Italy
- The costs for phone bills and internet can reach 30 – 50 EUR/month
- Entertainment and social activities add another 30 – 40 EUR/week
- Books and other study materials can cost around 40 – 50 EUR/month
Cost of Living in Italy
Tips for saving money
Have an inexpensive meal at the university cafeteria or “mensa”, or check the crowded places that serve street food and you can get a sandwich or a slice of pizza for 2 – 3 EUR. In most pubs, small restaurants and cafeterias in Italy, if you choose to eat or drink at a table, you will pay double the price that is listed on the menu! When you can simply order and take away, you should do it. Some restaurants in Italy have the Apertivo (similar to the American Happy Hour), where they offer a free buffet if you buy a drink, for around 6 EUR; this is usually between 6 and 9 pm.
Studying in Europe and living in Italy, one of the most beautiful countries, is a great choice. Low tuition fees will allow you to save some money and explore its cities full of ancient monuments and mysteries while enjoying great weather and trying some of the best food in the world. Have a great study experience and make the most out of it!
Now that you have an overview of tuition fees and living costs in Italy, you can start applying to universities. While you do that, don’t forget to also check the Italian student visa requirements if you are from outside the EU/ EEA.