Ottawa, the capital city of Canada located in the province of Ontario, houses the Canadian Parliament and is a great location for prospective students. The city offers high quality education and reasonable tuition rates, both for domestic and international students. Ottawa has many universities that offer education in both the French and English languages, as most institutions are officially bilingual.

When studying in Canada, students can apply for grants and loans. It is also important to remember that any student can apply to scholarships, which are best located on the university’s official website. These options, if granted, can cut down your tuition fees exponentially.

The tuition fees listed below are presented as a per year (or, two full-time semesters) tuition rate, and are presented in CAD currency. Fees in this article are presented at the undergraduate level only. Consult university websites for graduate or baccalaureate tuition rates. For many of these institutions, students can opt for part-time and online education as an alternative to full-time.

Cheapest Universities in Ottawa

1. University of Ottawa

First established in 1848, the University of Ottawa is a bilingual public research university located in Ottawa, ON. It is the largest English-French university in the world. Programs offered at the institution are through ten major faculties, including the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, Telfer School of Management, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Social Sciences. There are over 175 student groups and organizations to explore and join at the university.

The University of Ottawa was ranked 7th in Canada by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2020, and 141st in the world. The total undergraduate population is approximately 35,000.


2. Carleton University

Founded in 1942, Carleton University is a public university in Ottawa, ON. Programs at Carleton University are offered through six major faculties: the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Sprott School of Business, the Faculty of Engineering and Design, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, the Faculty of Public Affairs, and the Faculty of Science. With notable programs like Journalism, Media Production and Design, Public Affairs and Policy Management, and Cognitive Science, Carleton has a vast range of options for domestic and international students. Also, it is one of the cheapest universities in Ottawa!

Carleton has an undergraduate population of approximately 27,000.


3. Algonquin College

  • Domestic: Fee Calculator Based On Program
  • International: $12,500 – $16,000

Established in 1967, Algonquin College is a public college located in Ottawa, ON (with two other locations, in Pembroke, ON and Perth, ON). Algonquin College has been ranked in the Top 50 Research Colleges in Canada. With over 180 programs, options range from in-class to online degrees and diplomas, making it an accessible choice for students worldwide. Program options range from Art and Design, Skilled Trades, Public Safety and Legal Studies. Degree options include a Bachelor of Interior Design, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Bachelor of Public Safety, Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Early Learning and Community Development, and a Bachelor of Building Science.

The total full-time student population of Algonquin College is approximately 19,400.


4. Saint Paul University

  • Domestic: $5,278
  • International: $12,766

Next on our cheapest universities in Ottawa is Saint Paul University, which was established in 1848 as a bilingual Catholic Pontifical institution. Programs and courses are offered in both French and English languages, with both undergraduate and graduate options. The university’s programs are offered through four major faculties: Canon Law, Human Sciences, Philosophy, and Theology. Undergraduate programs include Social Communications, Human Relations and Spirituality, Public Ethics and Philosophy, Conflict Studies, Social Innovation, and Theology.

The undergraduate population of Saint Paul University is approximately 600.


 5. Dominican University College

  • Domestic: $4,364
  • International: $12,494

Established in 1899, Dominican University College is a bilingual Roman Catholic university located in Ottawa, ON. Programs and courses are offered both in French and English languages. With a predominant focus on philosophy and theology, degree programs span undergraduate, master’s and doctoral. Programs are offered through either the Faculty of Philosophy or the Faculty of Theology. Dominican University College offers small, personalized class sizes, and is affiliated with Carleton University.

The undergraduate population of Dominican University College is approximately 200.


6. College La Cité

  • Domestic: $8,178
  • International: $17,720 – $21,650

Founded in 1990, College La Cité is a French-language college in Ottawa, ON. La Cité offers more than 90 programs to its students. With a predominant focus on diploma programs that specialize in practical training, La Cité only has one degree program, which is Biotechnology. Programs in this cheap university in Ottawa include but are not limited to Administration, Housing and Interior Design, Communications, Construction and Mechanics, Tourism and Leisure, Aesthetics and Hairdressing, and Legal services.

The overall population of students at College La Cite is approximately 5000.


7. Herzing College

  • Domestic: Please Consult University for Information
  • International: $16,043

Established in 1985, Herzing College is an English-language institution that focuses predominantly on preparing students for the job market, offering a range of diploma programs. Program offerings include: Business, Design, Healthcare, Legal Studies, Technology, and Professional Development. Herzing offers the options to study full-time or part-time, with the flexibility of daytime or evening classes, as well as online courses.


Ottawa is a province that has houses many low-cost institutions, including these above options and more. Ottawa offers a multitude of accessible options for students across the globe. Fees may be subject to future change as per the institution’s rules and standards. The fees listed above do not always reflect the costs of residence and other expenditures, so be sure to consult official university websites for the most accurate fees depending your situation and on which year you are applying for.


We hope that this article on cheap universities in Ottawa was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Canada!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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