The transformation of student housing in Italy represents a significant policy shift, marked by the Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza (PNRR). This progression underscores Italy’s commitment to enhancing university student accommodations through a blend of innovative funding, legal reforms, and strategic partnerships. The journey began with the PNRR setting aside an ambitious 960 million euros for student housing, aiming to create around 60,000 new bed places by 2026. This fund, part of a broader strategy under target M4C1-28 – Reform 1.7 of the PNRR, focused on tripling the accommodation capacity for non-local students and aligning Italy’s student housing with European standards. This comprehensive plan encompassed the construction of new Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), rehabilitation of existing buildings, and modernization of current student housing units. Despite the ambitious scope, the PNRR’s implementation encountered challenges, particularly in project initiation and fund allocation. Today, only about 8.000 new beds has been created. In response to these challenges and to boost the development process aimed to achieve the PNRR’s goals, the legislator recently passed the Legislative Decree No. 145 of October 18, 2023 (the Decree), still to be converted into law. In this respect, Article 11 of the Decree is aimed to implement the provisions set fort in the Law 388/2000 (as amended by the PNRR’s provisions) – which regulates the co-financing by the State of the interventions aimed at the construction of housing and residences for university students – by actually allocating the resources related to the co-financing of the State for the realization of the new bed places.
In particular, the Decree provides the following:
- Enhancement of Student Accommodation: in view of the reshaping of the target M4C1-28 – Reform 1.7 of PNRR, the Decree focuses on increase housing for non-local students by fostering property acquisitions, long-term lease agreements, and renewal of existing contracts in place with public or private entities in relation to property used as university housing.
- Financial Commitment and Fund Allocation: to achieve the above goals, the Decree stablishes a dedicated fund within the Ministry of University and Research aimed at covering of all amounts due as “co-financing” within the framework of the of administrative procedures under Article 1, para. 4-ter, and Article 1-bis, of Law 388/2000 above mentioned, with detailed allocations as follows:
- 96.570.000,00 euros for 2023;
- 13.349.000,00 euros for each of the year from 2024 to 2032;
- Gradually decreasing amounts from 11.370.000,00 euros in 2033 to 129.000,00 euros for each of the years from 2048 to 2053.
The resources above have already been concretely allocated till the year 2026 – among the others provided in the budget law – through the creation of a special fund by the Ministry of Economy and Finance for an amount equal to 2,760 million for the year 2024, 104 million for the year 2025 and 16 million for the year 2026.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: The Ministry of University and Research is tasked with monitoring the state of progression of the realization of the new bed places trough the co-financing procedure above, by June 30, 2026, evaluating those that meet the European Commission’s criteria for the PNRR’s reform M4C1-28 – Reform 1.7, notifying the Ministry Economy and Finance with the relevant results.
The Italian legislator’s approach extends beyond direct funding. It embraces collaborations with private entities, aiming to foster innovation and efficiency in student housing solutions. The focus is not just on increasing the number of beds but also on enhancing the overall quality of accommodations, integrating modern amenities and sustainable practices. The success of these strategies will hinge on their adaptability and the ongoing commitment to meeting the evolving needs of the student population. However, realizing these ambitious projects involves navigating bureaucratic complexities, construction delays, and the need for effective coordination among diverse stakeholders. Future strategies must address these challenges to ensure the successful and timely implementation of the student housing projects.