About the DSU scholarship

DSU (Diritto allo Studio Universitario) is a program by the Italian government, literally translating to "right to university education." Designed for applicants from low-income families, both locals and foreigners can apply.

You should apply for DSU in any case. It is a significant financial relief that simplifies life, especially if you are unsure of your abilities and believe you do not have enough achievements for a merit-based scholarship.

According to Italian laws, all students are equal — both foreigners and Italians — and each student has the right to seek financial assistance if they are in need.

The DSU scholarship is precisely an example of such assistance. It is awarded not based on merits and good grades but as support for applicants facing challenging financial situations.

As a result, the list of recipients is generated randomly, since many families may have similarly low incomes. There is no additional criterion to aid in such cases.

Because of this, no one can guarantee a scholarship award. However, specific regions in Italy and their allocated budgets for the scholarship can increase chances — in some places, the budget is higher and allows for greater awards.

Semyon RomashovUniPage mentor, Italy specialist

DSU is a need-based scholarship, meaning it is awarded based on the financial situation of the student and their family. The main requirement is to have an annual income below 12,848-24,625 USD.

In this article, we will provide information about the general DSU program, its requirements, necessary documents, as well as what the scholarship covers.

What does the scholarship cover?

  • Tuition
  • Free student housing or stipends for rental expenses
  • Free meals at university cafeterias
  • Allowance for personal expenses — educational materials, sports equipment for university teams, etc.

The amount of the allowance varies depending on the region and the financial situation of the applicant, reaching up to 7,000 EUR.

Even if a student does not win the scholarship but meets the requirements, they will receive:

  • Free meal vouchers
  • Tax exemptions
  • Student housing for 268 USD per month, upon availability[1]

The scholarship amount and specific benefits under DSU depend on the region of Italy. For precise details, please refer to the official websites of the regional DSU programs.

Scholarship requirements

The DSU scholarship is awarded based on financial merit. To participate in the competition, you must confirm that your family income is less than 24,625 USD per year. This allows for reduced tuition fees and eligibility for certain benefits, such as free student housing and meals. If the income is below 12,848 USD per year, the student will receive full coverage of tuition fees, all benefits, and an allowance of up to 7,495 USD per year[2].

There are no age restrictions for participation in the competition. Applicants of bachelor's, master's, and PhD programs at Italian universities can apply.

The duration of the scholarship depends on the level of education:

  • 7 semesters for bachelor's programs
  • 5 semesters for master's programs
  • 3 years for PhD programs[3]

However, the scholarship is not automatically renewed. At the end of each academic year, recipients are re-evaluated based on the number of exams passed and credits earned[4].

Individuals who are not eligible for the scholarship
  • Those who have already received another government or university scholarship
  • Applicants of part-time programs
  • Those who already hold an Italian degree identical to or higher than the one they are applying for within the scholarship application — e.g., holders of a master's degree from an Italian university who are applying for a bachelor's or master's program[2]

Required documents

  • Passport copy
  • Family income certificate
  • Bank certificate for each family member
  • Property certificate
  • University acceptance or pre-admission letter — not always required

The documents should contain information for a specific year, often for the previous year and the first half of the current year. Each region in Italy has its own requirements, so it is essential to verify the information at the university or on the regional DSU website. For example, DSU Toscana.

Next, the document package needs to be submitted to a special authority responsible for assessing the welfare of the population. As a result, the candidate receives the ISEE Parificato certificate, which indicates the annual income of their family. This certificate is crucial as it determines eligibility for the scholarship and determines its amount.

Additional documents required for university admission should also be prepared in advance:

  • DDV / CIMEA — Italian certificate of recognition of foreign diplomas[2]
  • CV

The documents need to be translated into English or Italian, notarized, and apostilled for all income certificates and bank statements.

What to do if family income exceeds the scholarship requirements

If your family's income exceeds the ISEE limits and scholarship requirements, you can try to participate in the competition as an independent student.

In this case, there are two main conditions:

  • Live separately from your parents for the last two years — the housing should not belong to parents
  • Have an individual income of at least 9,636 USD per year[1]
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Stages of the scholarship application

  1. University document submission

    • Only enrolled university students or those with a pre-enrollment letter can apply.
    • Study the DSU scholarship information on the official website beforehand and contact the commission if needed to clarify the required documents and application procedure.
    • Document submission at Italian universities usually takes place from April 15th to July.
    • Include the acceptance letter or pre-enrollment letter in the DSU scholarship application package. The DSU commission may request this document directly from the university.

  2. Gathering scholarship documents

    • Collect all necessary documents and certificates first.
    • Next, apostille and translate the documents, in that order.
    • For education-related documents, additional recognition by the consulate may be required.

  3. Application submission

    • Applications open in July. Check the official website of the regional DSU, such as DSU Tuscany, for the current application deadline.
    • Typically, the deadline for submitting online applications is early September, and for PhD students, it's mid-November.
    • Before this time, register on the regional DSU website and complete the online application.
    • Attach all required documents to the application. The deadline is mid-November for all education levels.

  4. Sending documents to authorized bodies in Italy

    • The full list of required documents and the submission method depends on the guidelines of the selected university.
    • Sometimes, ISEE equalized documents are required, and other times, translated and apostilled family income documents are sufficient.
    • The package of documents will be checked, and an ISEE equalized will be formed, determining the applicant's ranking and scholarship amount.

  5. Final decision

    • Preliminary results are announced until September 30th, and for PhD students, until December 15th.
    • The final list of scholarship recipients is published by November 30th, and for PhD studies, by January 16th.

Exact dates may be subject to change. For accurate information, refer to the official scholarship website.

Scholarship application with UniPage

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