Universities in Italy are popular choices for students all over the world, as the country holds some of the greatest institutions in every field of study, and offers a high level of higher study opportunities. For this reason, there are approximately 32,000 international students in the country. Although Italy can be a dream destination, the costs of living and education can be considerably high to manage.

But, there are some places and tips you can follow to change that. There has been an influx of international students to Italy, particularly international students from India / Nigeria because they were able to study in Italy for free. Italy offers numerous opportunities to not only study without paying a dime but also to earn extra money in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the tips to study in Italy for free.

Is It Cheap for International Students to Study in Italy?

Yes, it is cheap for international students to study in Italy, but the prices can rack up pretty quickly if you are not paying attention to details. Depending on location, the living expenses may skyrocket, so make sure to rent your accommodation in a city that is not so popular.

Since your monthly rent will take the biggest chunk out of your expenses, avoid the key cities in Italy that people flock to, and try to get accommodation that is near to your university but relatively cheap to live in.

Read Also: Affordable Universities in Italy for International Students

How to Study in Italy for Free

1. Get Your Application Together and Submit Them early!

To even qualify to study in Italy for free with decent scholarships, your previous academic background should be flawless and filled with great results. To achieve that, studying hard with clear concepts on your target fields from day one is essential. The academic results and submitted applications are the first elements that represent you to the judging authority.

Having a well-organized application for the scholarship is very important, and preparing your application early is the key to making it better. This remains a performance evaluation tool that tells you your current progress rate. Modify and upgrade your pre-made application timely, and you’ll get an enriched application by the end of your semesters.

2. Apply for Financial Aid in Italian Universities

Having the best scholarships in Italy at your disposal is the key to studying free in the country, and even earning more money. Many top-notch Italian universities offer full scholarships and tuition fee waivers within their scholarships. Make sure to enlist your target universities and find the most appropriate scholarships.

After choosing the perfect matches and appropriate universities to study at, you can look at their listed requirements and fulfill them one by one. When you’ve met all the requirements, apply for the scholarships in order to get a free education in Italy as an international student.

A mix of great background results and a shiny application will help you stand out among numerous other applicants and allow you to grab that dream scholarship. This gives you an easy way to study in Italy for free, cut down expenses, and even earn great amounts of money while studying.

Read also: Fully Funded Scholarships for International Students

3. Apply to Affordable Universities in Italy

Universities in Italy can charge up to 4,000 euros on average, which is a big amount to manage for many students, especially those who are coming from abroad. But, applying to affordable universities in Italy in the first place makes it much easier to cut down the total costs of studying and fill them up with scholarships.

There are many public universities and some of the private colleges in Italy that offer great value for money because their tuition fees are much lower than the average fees. Enlist the potential cheap institutions as per your study fields, and then choose the best one that offers both quality and inexpensive tuitions. With a good scholarship in Italy, your education expenses can be easily cut down.

Check Also: Available Programs in Europe for International Students

Study Bachelors in Italy for Free

At the University of Bologna, Bocconi University, and the University of Padova, international students can get a free bachelor’s degree by getting the following scholarships:

1. University of Bologna Study Grants

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Tuition Fee Waivers, EUR €11,000 (USD $12,400) Grant

University of Bologna (Unibo) is considered the oldest university in the west and is also one of the finest and highest ranked ones. University of Bologna Study Grants for international students is one of the best grants you can get in the country, and this award option is also available for diploma holders and offers full scholarships along with up to 11,000 euros worth of study grants.

The tuition fee waiver falls under Unibo Action 1, and the study grant falls under Unibo Action 2. These are available for the first cycle and second-cycle degree programs, and please keep in mind that his grant is only available for only 1 academic year.

2. Bocconi University Undergraduate Merit Awards

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition, Fees Waiver, Free Accommodation

Another great scholarship opportunity so international students can get a free education in Italy is given by a university known as the Harvard of Italy, the Bocconi University. It’s a top-ranked university in Italy and produces high research scopes as well, and please remember that the Bocconi Undergraduate Merit Awards are given to a few selected bachelor’s students.

It offers many full tuition waivers that amount to 12,000 euros every year, and it also offers free accommodation within the Bocconi campus residences. This merit award is given for 2 years if the student can earn 50 credits in his first year.

3. University of Padova International Excellence Scholarship (Undergraduate)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Fee Wavier, €8,000 ($9,020) Annual Scholarship

The University of Padova is also among the top 10 best Italian universities, which offers great scholarship opportunities as well.  Padua International Excellence Scholarship Programme for 2021/2022 is given by the university, which is available for international students studying bachelor’s degrees in English.

It offers a full free studentship and 8,000 euros worth of scholarships per academic year. Recipients of this scholarship program only have to pay the regional tax and revenue stamp (Marca da bollo) which is 16 euros only.

For bachelor and single degree candidates, the scholarship is available for a 3-year duration. Students enrolled in the university don’t need any application, as they’re automatically picked as recipients based on their past positions and results. The scholarship is paid in 2 settlements each year.


If you are interested in getting undergraduate scholarships in other countries, check out the Undergraduate Scholarships Page!

Study Master’s in Italy for Free

Italian universities offer many scholarships that allow master’s students to study free in Italy. International students can get a free master’s degree in Italy at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Bocconi University, and the University of Padova by getting these awards.

1. Polytechnic University of Mila Merit-Based Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Tuition Fee Waiver, €10,000 ($11,300) Annual Stipend

Considered the best university for engineering in Italy, the Polytechnic University of Milan (Polimi) offers the best scholarship opportunities for master’s (MSc) students, so that students can receive the best quality education without spending a dime. This Politecnico de Milano Merit-Based Scholarship is given to international students and is categorized into 3 sectors, all of which offer a full tuition fee waiver.

The Platinum level scholarship offers 10,000 euros per year, the Gold scholarship gives 5,000 euros and the Silver scholarship offers only the tuition fee. The selection is based on previous education results. Students only have to pay the 200 euro administrative fee, which is easily cut down from the scholarship.

2. Bocconi University Graduate Merit Awards

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full Tuition, Fees Waiver, Free Accommodation

Just like undergraduates, Bocconi University also offers similar yet even better opportunities for master’s students. The Bocconi Graduate Merit Awards are awarded to international students pursuing a master’s degree in the university. Similar to the previous one, this merit award has a 2-year duration only if the awardee achieves 50 or more credits after one year.

But the amount of tuition fee waiver is 14,000 euros per year. Students get accommodation facilities within the campus as usual, and no application is required for eligibility. Students are automatically selected.

3. University of Padova International Excellence Scholarship (Graduate)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Fee Waiver, €8,000 ($9,020) Annual Scholarship

The University of Padova also provides similar scholarships for master’s programs so that international students can study in Italy for free. Just like the undergraduate one, Padua International Excellence Scholarship Programme is available for 2 years duration for students pursuing a master’s degree in the university.

International students studying English courses are eligible. It offers 8,000 euros worth of scholarship value and a full fee waiver and doesn’t need any application either.


If you are interested in getting Master’s scholarships in other countries, check out the Master’s Scholarships Page!

Study Ph.D. in Italy for Free

1. Scuola Normale Superiore de Pisa Ph.D. Scholarship

The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa has the highest rated per capita performance parameter in Italy according to ARWU 2018. For enhanced research opportunities, it offers Scuola Normale Superiore Ph.D. Scholarship. This scholarship is open for both Italian and international students currently completing doctoral studies.

This is a fully-funded scholarship, and only 68 awards are provided to progress in the thesis. Getting this scholarship will allow Ph.D. students to study in Italy for free.

2. Polytechnic University of Turin EDISU Piemento Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Free Accommodation, Bi-Annual Scholarship

Another great scholarship opportunity is given by the Polytechnic University of Turin, one of the best engineering universities in the world. The EDISU Piemonte Scholarships and Accommodation Services are given to international students, within and out of the EU, studying Ph.D. at the university.

Besides a full tuition fee waiver, the scholarship also offers up to 5,200 euros worth. In addition to these, accommodation services are provided to the awardee. Stateless students, internationally protected ones, and students coming from selected poor countries and below the levels of family income can show a certificate issued from the Italian Diplomatic Mission on their home countries can get even more opportunities and priorities.


If you are interested in getting undergraduate scholarships in other countries, check out the PhD Scholarships Page!


We hope that this article on how to study in Italy for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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