The Tuscany Region supports the right to university study through the DSU agency, which provides study support services and interventions for university students on the basis of Articles 3 and 34 of the Italian Constitution, which state that “education is open to all”, “the capable and deserving, even if without means, have the right to reach the highest grades of study” and it is “the task of the Republic to remove economic and social obstacles, which, by effectively limiting the freedom and equality of citizens, prevent the full development of the human person”.
The DSU provides services for all students, such as catering, orientation activities, advice in finding accommodation, facilities for cultural or sporting events and benefits awarded by competition to capable and deserving students without financial means, such as scholarships, beds at university residences and other types of financial contributions (for international mobility, cultural and publishing initiatives, etc.).
The DSU provides various forms of economic contributions assigned on request or by competition to deserving university students who find themselves in difficult economic conditions. The main tool used to support the costs faced by students studying for an academic title is a grant, but other financial benefits are also available. Calls for applications are issued annually.
In the last academic year (2018-2019) 14,622 scholarships were awarded and Tuscany confirmed its record: all students eligible for income and merit requirements, none excluded, were able to benefit from them, without any waiting list. In detail, 5,300 grants were awarded at the University of Florence, 5,845 in Pisa and 3,477 in Siena.
4,706 beds were available in university accommodation as at 31 December 2018: 1,692 in Florence, 1,578 in Pisa and 1,436 in Siena. In 2019, 60 more subsidised places were added in Pisa. By 2020 these will be expanded with another 120 in Florence in Viale Morgagni and a further 240 in Pisa in 2021 (in the residence of San Cataldo).
These figures are significant, in addition to the 1,200 to 1,500 contributions on rents paid each year and more than three million 751 meals provided by the canteens last year. All this led to an expenditure of more than €46 million in 2018, only as regards grants and other contributions to students.