Canada has become an increasingly popular destination for getting higher education, with 650,000 students coming from abroad each year. It comes as no surprise, as Canada has 10 out of 250 top universities in the world, is a highly developed country, and can offer many job opportunities to the students who decide to stick around after their studies are done.
So, how much does it cost to get a college education in Canada? Of course, there is no singular answer – the cost will depend on the province, school, and the field of study that you’re choosing. But good news – it’s cheaper than you think and tends to be pretty affordable. Canada has relatively low tuition fees compared to other English-speaking countries (the US, UK, and Australia), and its colleges and universities tend to offer scholarships to their most outstanding students. Unfortunately, tuition fees are not the only expenses that are facing incoming students, as accommodation and transportation often aren’t free. In this article, we will try to break down all the costs that can be associated with your education in Canada from tuition expenses to everyday lunches.
Tuition for international students
Universities and colleges in Canada set their tuition fees, and often depend on the choice of the school that you’ve made, your location, and whether you’re a domestic or an international student.
Cost of college
Colleges programs vary in length and can be anywhere from a couple of months to four years and are generally cheaper than Canadian universities. There are many high-quality colleges across the country that provide students with more hands-on knowledge and provide students with a career-oriented experience. There are over 10,000 programs at the 127 public Canadian colleges where you can study anything from web design to nursing.
The tuition prices generally range between CAD 2,000 – CAD 18,000 per year, depending on the length of your degree (whether you’re getting a certificate, diploma, or a post-graduate diploma), your location, and your program. Most colleges offer scholarships to international students to help with the cost of the tuition, and some programs even offer internships, co-operative programs, and work placements, which may even earn you an income while studying and assist with your living costs.
Cost of university
A degree from a Canadian university opens many doors and opportunities for international students, including securing a well-paid job after graduation. There are plenty of top-tier and world-known universities to choose from, with over 15,000 programs offered in two languages – French and English – depending on the province.
Once again, the cost of university education in Canada varies dramatically from school to school. If you’re choosing to go to a less well-known but a more affordable university, such as the Memorial University of Newfoundland, your international tuition will be under CAD 11,000. If you’re looking at the University of Toronto, which is ranked first in Canada and 25th in the world, you’re also looking at your tuition being no less than CAD 60,000. On average, undergraduate tuition in Canada is around CAD 32,000, not including living and academic expenses.
It’s important to remember that choosing a more affordable university does not mean you are sacrificing the quality of your education. More expensive does not mean the best, and plenty of Canadian universities with lower fees for international students are delivering world-class education.
Student living costs
Besides paying your tuition, you will have to budget for all your living expenses while in Canada. This is something that can be often overlooked by prospective students but can become a hefty sum by the end of the year. As with tuition, the cost will vary from province to province but generally goes around CAD 10,000 to CAD 20,000 yearly.
If you’re coming from abroad, keep in mind that Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires proof that you have enough money (at least CAD 10,000) to meet your financial needs while studying in Canada for your application process to go smoothly.
As a student, you have a couple of housing options, with an equally diverse price range. Most universities in Canada provide you with an option to live on-campus. The costs vary significantly depending on the style of your accommodation (private or shared room) and whether you chose to have a meal plan. The average cost for a student residence is CAD 7,500 but if you decide to live close to your school’s campus, it can also save you money on transportation costs as you can just easily walk or bike to class.
But acceptance to your preferred school doesn’t guarantee you a spot in the residence and after your first year as an undergraduate student, it can get pretty competitive. That’s why many students chose to live off-campus and rent an apartment. Typical rent for a two-bedroom accommodation is CAD 1,500 a month, with electricity, home phone, Internet and cable television, as well as renter’s insurance as an additional cost. These additional costs can add up to being over CAD 200 a month, and some students choose to have roommates to reduce the cost of housing.
Many students prefer to use public transit – busses, subways, commuter trains – since it proves to be a cheaper alternative to owning a car, and one-way public transit fares typically cost a few dollars. As a student in Canada, you generally get a discount, which helps with the cost of a monthly pass that ranges between CAD 80 to CAD 150.
Some schools offer free bus passes to their students, like the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, which means that there is a chance your transportation costs might be zero.
If you prefer to cook, your grocery shopping expenses should average out to about CAD 300 a month, especially if you prefer to shop at cheaper grocery stores like Walmart, No Frills, or Canadian Superstore.
If you prefer grabbing something on the go or just like eating take-out, an average price for a meal can be anywhere between CAD 10 to CAD 20. Restaurants tend to be on the more expensive side and if you want to enjoy a three-course meal with your friends, it can easily cost you CAD 65.
If you’re still unsure and want to calculate your exact expenses as a future student in Canada, please check out this cost calculator for international students by EduCanada.