Tuition fees at Italian universities are very affordable, especially in the case of public universities. Although the tuition fees are different according to the level of degree, the university and the study programme, the average ones range between 850 and 1,000 EUR per year in public universities and you should expect larger sums in private universities. However, some of the prestigious public universities in Italy can have tuition fees that exceed 1,000 EUR/ year.
In most institutions, EU students also benefit from lower tuition fees compared to non-EU students and some of the state universities in Italy set the tuition based on the student’s parental income.
The overall living costs for students in Italy range between 1,000 and 1,500 EUR/month, this including: accommodation, food costs, public transportation, local travel and/or entertainment.
Rome is just a little more expensive, compared to the rest of the Italian cities. Excluding the accommodation, students in Rome usually spend between 700 and 800 EUR/month, while in Salerno, you should prepare a budget of at least 650 EUR/month. In other student cities from Italy like Pisa, Padua, Turin or Bologna, an average student spends 550 EUR/month the least and a maximum of 750 EUR/month.
Out of the total monthly expenses of EU students, they usually pay around 35 % on accommodation, 9% on transportation and around 12% on tuition fees. Rates for accommodation in Italy are in the international range of 200 – 300 EUR/month.
On average, students that live alone pay about 266 EUR/month, students living in student accommodation pay around 257 EUR/month, while those who live with partner/child(ren) spend less, around 133 EUR/month.
A small percent of 2% of the international students live in student halls of residence, the rest choose other housing options. Regardless of where they choose to live, 75 % of students are very satisfied with their accommodation, which is above the average of 60 %.
Most common accommodation and prices for each of the options in Italy are:
- Student residence halls – between 200 and 300 EUR/month.
- Rent/share a flat – average rates range between 250 and 600 EUR/month.
- Host family – the average price is 450 EUR/month and often includes meals.
- Youth hostels – mostly a choice only for a temporary stay; rates are between 20 and 30 EUR/night.
If you rented an apartment, apart from the rent, you would have to pay an additional sum of around 30 EUR per month on utility bills.
Italian food is one of the most delicious in the world and the good part is that it is not expensive. Enjoying a traditional meal in an Italian restaurant is one of the greatest pleasures while living in Italy. You should try FegatoallaVeneziana, gnocchi (dumpling dish made with wheat flour, potatoes, butter, and egg or the famous risotto (made with Arborio rice and usually cooked in a broth and served with cheese).
In Italy, lunch or dinner start with antipasto, (a sort of appetizers or hors d’oeuvres) a course consisting of various types of cold meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, with prices between 5 and 12 EUR. For the next course, called primo, you can choose from soup, risotto or pasta, and for the secondo, you can opt for meat or fish, usually served alone. Of course, you can choose one or two of the courses.
You will find there are different types of restaurants in Italy, so you should pay attention to a few details. Trattorias are cheaper and usually serve more of the home-style cooking and osterias are old-fashioned restaurants or pub-like places, also specialized in home cooking. Best pizzerias are those with a forno a legna (wood-burning oven) rather than an electric one. 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.
One particular detail that you may find confusing when you check a restaurant receipt is the coperto. Any Italian restaurant will charge you for the bread and cover that is present on every table; this usually costs around 1–2.50 EUR per person.
Buying food from the supermarkets is not expensive, as you could spend on average 150 EUR/month.
The public transportation would be the easiest and most convenient method to travel in Italy. Public transportation in Italy is affordable and if you hold a student card, you would pay even smaller rates. A monthly bus/tram/metro ticket for students is somewhere between 25 and 35 EUR/month, depending on the city. The metro is really efficient and the metro maps are easy to navigate; you just have to be careful during rush hours, as metros can get crowded.
Taxis are a little expensive and also not recommended in large cities due to frequent traffic jams.
The train network in Italy is fast and well maintained, so visiting other cities in Italy is definitely an option. If you book earlier tickets, you could save money and benefit from discounts that can get to 70% less than regular tickets.
Although not necessarily bike friendly, you can always travel with a bicycle, even for simply admiring the city. In Milan, for example, you will find the BikeMi! – a bike-sharing initiative, where you can rent a bike for a daily 2.50 EUR or weekly 6 EUR.
The weekly costs for phone bills and other miscellaneous expenses can run to 30-40 EUR.
Entertainment and social activities can add another 30-40 EUR a week.
Books and other learning supplies and materials should cost you around 40 – 50 EUR/month.
In Italy, scholarships are offered by the Italian government at the national and regional level. In addition, some Italian Universities offer Italian scholarship programmes for international students; these are usually between 5,000 and 12,000 EUR/year.
Other scholarship and student grant opportunities that international students can apply to are through the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of these opportunities is the “Invest your Talent in Italy” programme, mainly dedicated to students from Azerbaijan, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam.
Tips for saving money
- Use the student card in every place they accept it, to get discounts in museums, stores and even restaurants.
- When you choose to buy from the supermarket, better go to Lidl, Penny Market or Esselunga, known in Italy to have the lowest prices.
- 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! So, when you can simply take away, you should just 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.