Fabio Elefante, University Business in Italy? Tipi di istituzioni universitarie e relativi regimi – Riscoprire i classici


1. Premessa. 

2. Università italiana e fine di lucro. 

2.1. Il sistema universitario italiano in cifre. 

2.2. Tipologie di istituzioni universitarie presenti in Italia e loro compatibilità con un fine di lucro. 

2.3. La formazione transnazionale. 

2.4. Università e fine di lucro.

3. Il “mercato” della istruzione universitaria. 

4. Fine di lucro e valore legale del titolo: un nesso da considerare.


This study acknowledges the increased interest of foreign cultural institutions in entering the “market” of the Italian universities. This is because of the cultural and economic value of foreign cultural institutions and their ambitious plan not to (or no more to) cover the niche market of the transnational education, but rather to directly compete in a free market with the Italian universities. This study focuses on cultural and economic entities, with specific attention to the non profit- ones, with the aim at verifying whether said institutions may be adequately protected by the existing legislation to start a business in Italy. The study also investigates what kind of business such institutions might run for; and, therefore, whether such a phenomenon, still at an early stage, is likely to remain marginal or is rather the sign of a significant modification of the system; also, whether this is the sign of a temporary crisis of Italian academies in terms of quality and universality of education, or on the opposite, a systemic crisis of Italian universities, increasingly split between “teaching schools” (which probably would be reinforced with for-profit institutions) and universities as research hubs; and whether education provided by Italian universities is likely to become a business sector for domestic and foreign companies or whether, despite the many reforms, the Italian system still holds its own typical requirements. Based on the above questions, the study: 1) briefly defines the Italian universities system, the relevant institutions and their qualification as for-profit/no-profit entities; 2) analyses, in addition to the (few) forms of “university” education that might be turned into a business, any alternative and indirect way to repay the capital invested in no-profit university institutions; 3) qualifies the indirect legal value (but no less important) of the academic degree as the main regulatory “obstacle” to the spread of for-profit-institutions and, finally, 4) sustains that competition between entities (of domestic or foreign nature) and the university system is part of the debate on such questionable and recurring topic of the Italian system.