Scholarships (Borse di Studio)
This is the ideal way to fund your Rome education, if you are fortunate enough to find a scholarship. The pontifical schools have various scholarships available, mostly for students from developing and former Communist countries. Contact your particular school for more information. If you attend the Angelicum, here is a link to contact the Vice Segretario Generale for information on scholarships. You might also post something on the Facebook group "Studenti Laici alle Università Pontificie/ Lay Students of Rome" to hear other students' suggestions on what scholarships are really available. Facebook groups for the particular pontifical universities are also a good source of information.
One scholarship that has recently become available is the Russell Berrie Fellowship. It is for those studying at the Angelicum for a license or doctorate in theology with a concentration in interreligious studies.
RENOVABIS and MISSIO are organizations that sponsor scholarships for students from former Communist countries and developing countries, respectively. The Papal Foundation also sponsors scholarships. These groups sometimes post information regarding scholarships at the various schools, or you can contact the school’s office about this. Local bishops in various countries also sponsor qualified lay students to study in Rome. Again, this is not usually the case for students from North America or Western Europe.
Students from the United States can receive government loans for study abroad at some institutions. In Rome, it used to be that the pontifical institutes authorized for US students to receive federal loan money were the Gregorianum, the Angelicum, and Santa Croce (well, the North American College too, but that doesn’t apply to lay students!). There has been talk that in 2012 this was discontinued because of the small number of American students at these schools; however, these schools are still listed under schools in Rome that can receive US student loan money. (See www.fafsa.ed.gov and look under “foreign country” and “Rome” for the federal school code search.) If these loans are in fact being discontinued, it would be a big blow to US lay students hoping to study at the Roman pontifical universities. This would mean that not only would they be unable to get government loans for their current studies, but they also could not get an “educational deferment” for any previous loans. (An "economic hardship" deferment for up to 3 years would still be possible.) US students would also have great difficulty in getting private student loans, since US banks normally give loans only to students at schools on the government lists. The best thing to suggest at this point is directly contacting your school about this matter, as well as posting on the lay students' Facebook page to hear what students currently attending the school have to say.
Canadian students may get loans for study abroad. The only pontifical institutions in Rome approved for Canadian student loans are Santa Croce and the Pontifical Oriental Institute. See this list (p. 8 of "International" pdf).
There are a number of possibilities for earning some money as a student in Rome. Listed below are some of the more popular. Note that you cannot legally work more than 20 hours/wk on a student visa.
~ Teaching English as a second language (TESL). You'll make more per hour giving private lessons than teaching at a school, while a school may be able to give you more hours. Transitions Abroad has a great page of links for TESL training programs and schools in Italy. Some advice on teaching English in Italy can be found at ESLbase.com and ExpatsinItaly.com. Check the job sites listed above for classifieds seeking private lessons. Dave’s ESL Café (www.eslcafe.com) is the central online resource for ESL teachers: suggestions, curricula, forums, classifieds, everything. Feltrinelli International is good bookstore for ESL materials. Genki English CDs may be worth the cost if you are giving private lessons to children; they actually learn something. Students whose native language is other than English may also find opportunities tutoring their language, but the greatest demand is for English.
~ Other possible jobs include translation and working in various media outlets. Check the job sites listed above.
~ If you’re interested in being an au pair (alla pari), www.europlacements.it lists full-time employment opportunities for native English speakers. This may be a better option for the summer than the school year. Some students have found part-time employment tutoring English or simply babysitting children through Angel Staff Services. For Americans, ability to drive a manual transmission (stick shift) is helpful. Again, you can always check the sites listed above.
Many students choose to get bank accounts in Italy, since your home bank usually charges a fee each time you withdraw money internationally. AngloInfo has a helpful page on opening a bank account in Italy. To open a bank account, you will need a codice fiscale; the link has info on how to obtain one.