Studying in Canada is not free, but it is affordable. Canada offers the lowest tuition rates for foreign students compared to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and the US. The average cost for a foreign student for one school year (8 months) in an undergraduate program is C$11,903. It is likely between C$20,000 and C$30,000 annually to cover tuition and living expenses. However, this cost range is just an average and will vary according to the institution and the program in which you are enrolled, your location and your living expenses.
Tuition fees for international students vary across provinces and programs. The table below shows the average tuition fees (in Canadian dollars) for full-time foreign students, by field of study.
2016–2017 International Tuition Fees for Full-time Study *
|Field of study grouping||Undergraduate||Graduate|
|Visual and Performing Arts, and Communication Technologies||$20,571||$13,150|
|Social and Behavioural Sciences||$21,604||$13,557|
|Law, Legal Profession and Studies||$27,056||$16,549|
|Business Management and Public Administration||$23,555||$20,518|
|Physical and Life Sciences and Technologies||$24,456||$13,730|
|Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences||$25,273||$13,067|
|Architecture and related Technologies||$22,171||$20,123|
|Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation||$20,268||$12,416|
|Others including health, parks, recreation and fitness||$20,117||$16,031|
*weighted average tuition fees by field of study (in Canadian dollars)
Source: Statistics Canada
Do remember too that you should also budget for items such as books, living expenses and housing.
Most universities offer on-campus residences for students, some of them specifically for scholars from abroad. But acceptance at a Canadian school does not automatically mean you can get a room in residence. Students are required to apply separately for on-campus housing, and its cost varies across institutions and will depend on whether or not you want a private room or a meal plan, for example. Some international students choose to live off-campus in an apartment. Rent for an apartment in Canada can range from about $500 to $1,500 per month, depending on the city or neighbourhood and the type of accommodation. You may also need to pay additional monthly costs for utilities such as electricity, home phone, internet and cable television, as well as personal expenses and insurance. Some students choose to share apartments or entire houses in order to reduce their housing costs.
The cost of transportation depends on where you live. Many students, particularly those in larger cities, choose public transportation: buses, subways, commuter trains or ferries. One-way public transit fares typically cost a few dollars, and monthly passes range from about $80 to $110, although many transit providers offer student discounts.
International students in Canada must have health insurance, and the medical coverage that’s available varies from province to province. Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan cover international students under their provincial health care plans, but that coverage generally depends on the length of your stay. However, international students planning to study in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island or Quebec must arrange for private health insurance.