Welcome to AACUPI


Founded in Rome in 1978, the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI) is a non-profit legal entity in Italy, playing an important role in identifying real and potential fundamental legal and fiscal problems, intrinsic to the presence in Italy of non governmental institutions, and, then, resolving them equitably.

The transfer of the non-profit status of colleges and universities from North America to Italy was necessary to focus on the true mission of AACUPI institutions operating in Italy, to comprehend their goals and to safeguard their integrity.  In the past forty years, the passage by the Italian Parliament of two specific laws, whose intention it has been to clarify the legal and fiscal positions of AACUPI programs, and to protect and regularize the specific nature of these programs, has made reciprocal understanding possible, with subsequent recognition by the Italian Ministry of the University and Scientific and Technological Research.

Monthly, bilingual newsletters, written by AACUPI’s legal counsel, covering all legal and fiscal aspects of administering academic programs in Italy, are an intrinsic benefit of membership in AACUPI, as is full, open discussion of such matters at all four general meetings held annually.  Immigration procedures, including visa applications and stay permits, are brokered collectively by AACUPI with Italian authorities to ensure their standardized application to all AACUPI member institutions. Continued regular communication between member institutions, together with effective collaboration by everyone, have made it possible for AACUPI to represent collective interests to official American, Canadian and Italian organs, and to other official entities, such as cultural, philanthropic and educational institutions not part of AACUPI.  Working together, for everyone, succeeds.

AACUPI’s membership includes more than 150 North American college and university programs located throughout Italy in Arezzo, Ariccia, Bàcoli, Bologna, Bracciano, Castel Gandolfo, Certaldo, Cortona, Fiesole, Florence, Genoa, Marino, Milan, Montepulciano, Orvieto, Paderno Del Grappa, Padua, Parma, Perugia, Prato, Rome, Sansepolcro, Scandicci, Settignano, Siena, Sorrento, Venice, Vicenza and Viterbo, providing university-level courses, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as postdoctoral research opportunities, to students enrolled in member institutions.  No two programs are alike, from an ideological, historical, didactic, organizational or structural point of view.

Rome and Latium host the greatest number of institutions, 62, with programs enrolling about 15,000  students, followed by Tuscany, which has 57 member institutions and more than 15,000  students, mainly in Florence.  The total annual AACUPI student population is more than 35,000.

Membership is:

  • voluntary,
  • limited to universities and institutions of higher education at the university level, both public and private non-profit entities,
  • that are headquartered and validly established in the US or Canada, and
  • that are duly accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies as institutes of higher education and/or research at the university level, even if established in Italy in the form of a consortium.

Associate membership is available in some cases, provided, however, that the institution is duly accredited.  The programs of member institutions give credit  in the US or Canada for all courses conducted at their Italian sites to all students enrolled in them.  Scholarly associations duly established in the US or Canada may also qualify for membership.

General meetings are held four times annually, hosted on a rotation basis by member institutions at program sites throughout Italy, and always offer legal and fiscal up-date sessions.  Dues are paid annually in euros in June and vary according to the size, type and duration of the academic program in Italy. Dues cover operational costs of AACUPI, including staff emoluments; officers are not renumerated.


  • Enhance and facilitate the international educational interests of North American university programs in Italy by cooperative effort;
  • Extend, protect and enrich respective instructional programs and academic research activities by mutual assistance through roundtables, conventions, conferences, lectures, seminars and debates that are of a cultural nature, or of other specific interest to its members;
  • Expand the scope of cooperative relationships between North American programs and their appropriate Italian counterpart institutions through educational and cultural exchange;
  • Safeguard the instructional goals and the moral, social, fiscal and legal interests of the universities and institutions of higher education at the university level from the United States and Canada that carry out localized cultural activities of education and research in Italy by coordinating needs, identifying, defining and resolving, collectively and equitably, legal and fiscal problems intrinsic to the presence on Italian soil of non-governmental institutions;
  • Promote and encourage the interchange of knowledge and activities in the context  of culture  and education  between  the US and Canada, on one hand, and the Republic of Italy, on the other, by developing contacts between members and corresponding Italian cultural and educational entities;
  • Represent the common interests of members before public and private  bodies  and agencies,  both  in Italy and in the US and Canada, nationally as well as locally.


In 1992,  IRPET, the Istituto Regionale per la Programmazione Economica della Toscana, a Tuscan research  institute,  surveyed twenty-three  programs in Tuscany, and again, in 2000,  it surveyed seventy-six programs nationally.  As a result, it published a comprehensive and wide-reaching research project on the economic, organizational and cultural impact of North American academic tourism, i.e. North American college and university programs within Italy, showing, among other data, that 12% of the entire national flow of tourists to places of historical interest consists of students in AACUPI programs, who spend an average of five and half months in the academic program of their choice.  In 2008,  one hundred thirty- four programs provided direct revenue to the Italian economy of 396,832,000 euros, combined with indirect expenditures for a total of 632,126,000 euros.  Statistics show a notable degree of loyalty to the idea of multiple return visits to Italy as tourists after study abroad there, a dedication demonstrated by the presence of the second and third generation of family members in some AACUPI programs, those founded more than thirty-five years ago.

Links for downloading the full text in English and Italian of the latest IRPET Study on the Economic Impact of Academic Tourism in Italy completed in 2013:

2013 Report – Educating in Paradise: The Value of North American Study Abroad Programs in Italy – Characteristics, Impact and Prospects

Rapporto 2013 – Educating in Paradise: Il Valore dei Programmi Universitari Nord Americani in Italia – Caratteristiche, Impatto e Prospettive

AACUPI has witnessed the creation of a context within which it is possible to develop relationships containing real cultural exchange between academic tourists and Italian residents.  AACUPI activities, which clearly appear to be growing by leaps and bounds, herald numerous and sundry benefits for the Italian tourist industry as Italy continues to attract an ever-growing presence of study abroad programs on the university level: quantitatively, in the tourist flow towards Italian artistic localities and, qualitatively, since AACUPI programs produce a specialized population that tends to create a true relationship with the surrounding Italian reality to appreciate the different contents of the Italian cultural offering.  This growth is destined to continue in the future, not only affecting Rome and Florence, but carrying over into all of the Italian provinces.

Further information: