The cost of school and help with expenses with the ISEE form

Public school is free, but there are still things you will have to pay for. Read about the cost of school in Italy. Learn how to get help with school expenses.


school books

Public school is free for children between the ages of 6 and 16, but you will need some school supplies. There are also fees to pay for younger children and for students older than 16. The cost of school is higher at university.

Public schools

In Italy, public schools are run by the government. They are free the years when children must be in school. However, parents still need to consider other expenses like books, notebooks, pens and pencils, a backpack, and lunch service. You might also pay for some extra activities and transportation.

Financial aid for public schools

Families who can’t pay for the cost of school can ask for help from the government. This is called financial aid. You can use financial aid for some school expenses or for tuition payments. To get financial aid, you will need an ISEE certificate to show your financial situation.

About the ISEE certificate

The ISEE shows the total financial situation of the family. If your income allows it, you can request any help available for the cost of school in your region. It’s possible to apply online for an ISEE by completing a DSU (dichiarazione sostitutiva unica) form.

You can find more information about financial aid from the secretary at your child’s school or from your Comune office or website.

  • To find your local Comune office, you can search online. Type “comune di” and add the name of your area and your city.

You can also request the ISEE by going to the nearest CAF (Centri di Assistenza Fiscale), an accountant, or a labour consultant. CAF centers will give you an ISEE certificate for free. At the CAF, you can also ask if there are tax deductions or returns available for some of your expenses that you can show when you file taxes.

  • To find your local CAF office, you can search online. Type “CAF” or “centri di assistenza fiscale” and add the name of your area and your city.

The cost of school at different levels

Different levels of schools have different fees and expenses:

Daycare and kindergarten (nidi, primavera, and asili)

For daycare and kindergarten, you will pay a one-time enrollment fee and then a regular monthly fee. The costs of nidi, primavera and asili is different in different places. Many Comuni (local governments) let families pay less if their income is low. The monthly cost for families with a low income will be anything from €20 to €200. It depends how much income you have and where you live. It may also depend on if you are resident or non-resident in the Comune, because sometimes non-residents pay more.

Primary school

Middle school is free. But you must buy notebooks, pens and pencils, sports clothes, and a backpack.

Middle school

Middle school is free. But you must buy notebooks, pens and pencils, sports clothes, and a backpack.

Secondary school

Secondary school is free. But you will have some expenses. You must buy notebooks, pens and pencils, sports clothes, and a backpack. You may have to pay for some extra activities and transportation. Students have to buy books for their classes, too. Many students save money buying used books from bookshops and from older students at their school.

Some secondary schools may require some tuition fees in the fourth and fifth year, or after the student is 16 years old. You will get financial aid for school fees if your ISEE qualifies you.

University

To pay for university, students make two payments. The first payment is the same amount for all students. Students make the first payment when they enroll or at the beginning of the academic year.

The second payment amount depends on the course and your family income. You will need an ISEE certificate to show your financial situation.

In addition to the fees, you need to consider the cost of books, transportation, housing, and admission tests.

In some cases, students can get financial help for university:

  • income-related – many universities give scholarships to low-income students
  • merit – for students with high grades and those who graduate early
  • disability – for students with disabilities

There should be information on the university website about financial help. If you cannot find information, ask at the office. They will tell you how to apply for financial help.

Private schools

Private schools are not run by the government. Some parents choose private schools because they want a special kind of education for their children. These parents can afford to pay school fees.

Do you need more information?

Here are some useful Italian words that could help you if you want to do more research on the internet:

  • “agevolazioni economiche scuola”
  • “Modello ISEE (informazioni, dove richiedere, documenti)”

Remember to add the name of your city!