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Studying Medicine in Italy: Scholarships and Fee Waivers

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Imagine being paid to study medicine. Sounds crazy, but it’s a reality for many medical students in Italy. Medical school is notorious around the world for not only being very competitive but also very expensive. In the USA for instance, it is not uncommon to graduate with several hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. 

Fortunately, medical degrees in Italy are not only affordable, they can even result in you being paid to study them! These opportunities are available to a lot of students and provided you meet certain criteria, you are very likely to receive benefits. Best of all, they are open to international students and Italians alike!

Types of Scholarships in Italy

In Italy, there are different kinds of scholarships. The most popular are the regional scholarships, which are offered by the local governments in Italy. There are also university-specific scholarships, which vary a lot based on the university in question.

Regional Scholarships Available to Medical Students in Italy

Regional Scholarships are offered by the local government scholarship institution, not the university directly. The institution that offers this kind of scholarship thus will depend on where your university is located. Every region in Italy with a medical school in English has this type of scholarship available. 

The benefits you receive vary depending on your situation, but in general, you can receive a combination of…

  • A lump sum of money per year (this can be as high as around 7000 euros per year!)
  • Free accommodation in a dormitory
  • Free or reduced fee canteen meals
  • Free university tuition

Criteria for the Regional Scholarship

The requirements for eligibility can vary depending on your personal circumstances, so it is important to not just follow the general advice you might hear from others. What is required for one student may not be the same as what is required for you. In general, however, the criteria are mainly influenced by…

  • Your family income
  • Your family liquid assets
  • Your family immovable assets and property
  • Your academics 
  • Your family size
  • Your previous studies

As mentioned, these factors can vary, since each scholarship institution is separate. Some might care about your high school academics, others might not. 

It is also important to note that in most cases the financial information refers to your entire family unit (mother, father, siblings, yourself) and thus the combined income, assets etc are considered. There are some cases where only your financial status is taken into account, but this generally requires proof of independence from your family, and the criteria are very strict. 

Who is Eligible for Regional Scholarships in Italy?

Regional Scholarships are open to both Italian and international students alike. In most cases you can apply for the scholarship in the first year of medical school, and keep getting it every year for the 6 years you will be studying medicine in Italy. You will need to remain a medical student for these 6 years, and to keep receiving the scholarship there are a set amount of university credits you will need to pass each year. So, make sure to keep up to date with your exams!

Please note that there are things that can complicate eligibility. Aside from financial and merit factors which we already discussed, there are other things as well that can complicate your situation. If you have already studied with the scholarship in a previous year, or if you already hold a university degree, among other things, there can be complications. 

How to Apply for Regional Scholarships

Regional scholarships are not that straightforward to apply for. It is not simply an online application. There are many documents you will need to obtain, legalise and translate. The type of documents can vary based on your personal situation and the scholarship institution as well, so it is not possible to make a complete list that fits everyone. 

There are both online applications as well as physical appointments you will need to make, all with separate and very strict deadlines. To complicate things further, what is required for your case can differ from what is required for someone else. 

University Specific Scholarships

If you do not qualify for regional scholarships, there are also other scholarships offered by universities themselves. These vary considerably between different universities, and not every type is available at every university.

There are some that are based on your IMAT score, which you can obtain if you get a stellar score on the IMAT Test. IMAT scholarships are generally reserved for those who score the highest for the particular university in question.

There are also university scholarships based on your income, which can sometimes be slightly higher than the regional scholarships. Others are based on your university academics and can involve lump sum payments, or the right to get part-time paid work at your university. 

There are also some scholarships reserved to students from certain countries, such as countries currently experiencing war, or countries that Italy wants to attract talent from. 

Fee Waivers and Fee Reductions in Italy

If you get a scholarship, your fees are generally zero. In the case you do not qualify, the maximum fees are usually stated on the university website and vary from around 2000 to 6000 euros as a maximum fee per year. 

However, even without scholarships, there are often ways to get this reduced. This can involve separate applications, so it is important to be aware of what opportunities exist so you don’t get stuck paying the maximum fees. 

A common way to reduce fees is via something called an ISEE. This is basically a document that provides a financial value to your situation. It is generally based on your family as a whole and takes into account income, assets, family size, and other variables. You will need to get a lot of documents for this. These documents need to be for specific time frames, need to be legalised and translated, and need to be formulated correctly. Your ISEE will be used to determine what fees you will pay. The higher the ISEE, the higher the fees

If your ISEE is too high, there can still be ways to apply for fee reductions. This can be done via country-specific reductions, academic merit, and how fast you complete exams, to name a few. 

Need Help?

Scholarships in Italy are not that easy to understand for international students and it can be very complicated to apply. Making a mistake in the application process is a very sure way to miss out on the benefits. If you need help with your applications, feel free to reach out to us! Our full consulting program will help you with everything you need to do for these scholarships, as well as help you with everything else you need to start studying medicine in Italy.

Have Questions?

Post them in the comments below!

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