Depending on the programme and school, Canada is one of the most affordable study abroad destinations for international students. For international students, it has cheaper tuition rates than the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. Students may enrol in an internationally renowned programme at one of Canada's best colleges for a fraction of the cost of a similarly respectable programme at a private US university or college.
Even so, studying abroad—in any country—requires careful financial planning, and it's crucial to find out whether there are any scholarships or other types of financial assistance available.
The following tables shows how Canada compares to other leading study abroad countries in terms of affordability and (b), in Figure 2, the costs of studying at various levels of schooling in Canada.
Tuition should not be the only cost international students will need to budget for when studying in Canada; they must also factor in the cost of living. Figure 1 looks at the average cost of an undergraduate degree, including the cost of living, across leading study abroad destinations including Canada:
Source: HSBC “The Value of Education” 2014
In addition to having relatively low tuition fees, international students in Canada can often offset the costs of studying by working on- or off-campus, or by completing co-op placements during their studies.
Figure 2 shows average full-time costs—including tuition and student fees, accommodation and food, personal and health insurance, and books—by level of study in Canada.
Approximate yearly cost of full-time tuition in Canada for international students (CAD):
K-12 (public): $9,500 to $15,000
Language: $15,400 (based on 44 weeks per year, $350/week average)
College: $7,000 to $30,000 depending on institution and field of study
University: $9,000 to $50,000+ depending on level and field of study (Statistics Canada)
The cost of studying in Canada will depend heavily on the program, institution, and level of study. Living costs, insurance, and textbooks should be considered as separate expenses, and are rarely included in tuition.
Undergraduate Tuition Fees
Weighted average tuition fees for full-time international undergraduate students, by field of study (in Canadian dollars), 2016–17.
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies: $22,950
Social and behavioural sciences: $24,808
Law, legal professions and studies: $29,756
Business, management, and public administration: $26,395
Physical and life sciences and technologies: $29,067
Mathematics and computer and information sciences: $30,187
Architecture and related technologies: $24,654
Agriculture, natural resources, and conservation: $24,101
Veterinary medicine: $60,458
Other health, parks, recreation, and fitness: $23,192
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 37-10-0005-01 – Weighted average tuition fee for full-time foreign undergraduate students, by field of study, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database).
When budgeting for their stay in Canada, it is important that international students take into consideration the costs of the essential items that may need to be purchased.