The first University Colleges in Italy were established in the 14th century, and many more followed during the Renaissance period and throughout the last century. From the outset, University Colleges have focused on encouraging social promotion based on merit.

During the 20th century, they worked towards creating a ruling class that would be responsible and capable of adapting to the changes taking place in modern society. To this end, the Italian State believed it was necessary to enhance the centuries-long history of Italian Colleges, acknowledging their role as bodies highly involved in promoting culture

Colleges of Merit are educational centres of excellence offering more than just residential services and, over the years, have supported Italian universities with their educational activities.

Given the need for a representative entity, in 1995 the Colleges legally recognised by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research set up a representative body called CCU - Conferenza permanente dei Collegi Universitari (Permanent Conference of University Colleges).

In 2011, the Conferenza was established as an Association in Rome and, at the same time, it approved its Statute and new legal name: CCUM - Conferenza dei Collegi Universitari di Merito.

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