Canada, reputable for its outstanding schooling and elevated quality of life, is an increasingly favored location for students from around the globe. If you also plan to start your journey in Canada, you’re at the right place. One of the most important things to know is how to budget your expenses living in Canada. So, let’s dive into the details and analyze what kind of expense you might incur. Not only this, we’ll also discuss the ways to minimize the cost and some scholarships available for international students.

Is it Expensive for International Students to Study in Canada?

Yes, studying in Canada can be expensive compared to other regions, but the education level you’ll receive is worth the investment. The education costs for international students are generally higher compared to domestic students. Depending on your city, transportation, and food choices, you can expect to spend around CAD 2,000 – 10,000 monthly. Moreover, the tuition fee varies based on the degree level, giving options for various financial capabilities. Therefore, comprehending the total living expenses is vital for international students mapping their academic journey in Canada. So, head onto the sections below to have the gist of it.

Costs of Studying in Canada

Here is a breakdown of the costs you’d encounter in Canada as an international student.

Tuition Fees in Canada

When it comes to studying in Canada, the cost of education varies. For instance, the annual tuition for undergraduate programs ranges between CAD 25,000 and CAD 67,000, while the corresponding figures for graduate programs can go up to CAD 70,000. But fret not, as numerous options are available to decrease your financial burden. Some of these opportunities include scholarships, entrance awards, and fellowships.

Let’s look at some of the top Canadian universities and their respective fee structure for international students.

University of Toronto Undergraduate – 61,720 – 67,000 CAD
Graduate – 30,350 – 70,160 CAD
University of British Columbia Undergraduate – 47,189.40 – 61,572.92 CAD
Graduate – 16,506.70 – 61,572 CAD
McGill University Undergraduate – 21,313.20 – 60,599.58 CAD
Graduate – 16,545 – 31,863.58 CAD
McMaster University Undergraduate – 40, 290 – 30,000 CAD
Graduate – 11, 398 – 48,610 CAD
University of Alberta Undergraduate – 33,968.40 – 45,482.40 CAD
Graduate – 9,406 – 41,000 CAD

Other Academic Costs

As an international student, you will encounter additional costs beyond just tuition. For instance, you are required to pay application fees, ranging from CAD 100 to CAD 150. Therefore, prospective students need to examine the specific charges of each institution carefully.

Another essential factor is health coverage, usually ranging from CAD 600 to CAD 1,000 annually. On top of that, there are yearly on-campus dues covering utilities like recreational centers and libraries. These typically fall between CAD 500 and CAD 1,000 and may vary based on the institution. Students must be aware of these additional costs to plan their budget effectively.

One example to consider is the University of Toronto, a top-tier Canadian institution, levies an application fee of CAD 180 on international learners. Moreover, the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) for overseas students at the University of Toronto is about CAD 720 annually. Preparing for these extra expenses is vital for international students organizing their scholarly journey in Canada.

Cost of Living in Canada

Here are some of the best cities to live in Canada.

1. Toronto

Toronto, as the hub city and financial heart of Canada, draws students worldwide to its thriving, diverse environment. Still, urban living comes with an escalated cost of living. Monthly rent in Toronto can vary from CAD 1,200 to CAD 2,500, depending on location and living arrangement. One person might spend around CAD 300 to CAD 400 monthly on groceries, while transportation costs roughly CAD 100 to CAD 150. Other considerations, including recreational activities and personal expenses, further affect the overall cost of living. For example, the University of Toronto estimates that the annual living expenses for international students hover around CAD 15,000.

2. Vancouver

Vancouver, renowned for its striking landscapes and multiculturalism, draws many global students. Nevertheless, such charm comes with considerable financial demands. Residential costs range from CAD 1,500 to CAD 2,500 per month, making it one of Canada’s more expensive cities. Monthly groceries will amount to CAD 300 – CAD 400, while transportation expenditures fall between CAD 9 and CAD 120. Despite Vancouver furnishing an unmatched standard of living, students must consider these augmented costs. The University of British Columbia estimates the average yearly expenses for international students to be around CAD 16,000.

3. Montreal

Famed for its bilingual character and budget-friendly nature, Montreal is emerging as an economical option for international students. The cost of renting varies from CAD 800 to CAD 1,500 per month, demonstrating its monetary advantage. The anticipated monthly expenditure for groceries fluctuates between CAD 250 and CAD 350, with transportation fees hovering from CAD 60 to CAD 90. Living in Montreal is notably more budget-conscious than in Toronto and Vancouver, offering learners a cost-effective choice. McGill University suggests that an international student’s yearly cost of living is roughly CAD 12,000.

Ways to Minimize Academic and Living Costs in Canada:

Minimizing academic and living costs in Canada can be achieved through strategic planning and resourcefulness.

1. Scholarships for International Students

Students from around the globe pursuing studies in Canada are presented with diverse scholarship opportunities that considerably lighten the load of academic expenses. Let’s have a look at some notable scholarships.

Canadian Government Scholarships

  • The Canadian government endorses many scholarship programs to foster the growth of international scholars. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships is one remarkable exhibit of this, intended to lure and preserve excellent doctoral contenders through substantial monetary aid.

University-Specific Scholarships

  • A significant number of Canadian institutions offer scholarships specifically crafted for international scholars. A notable example is the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship provided by the University of Toronto. This intensely competitive scholarship vows to cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, incidental charges, and extensive accommodation support for the total span of the recipient’s undergraduate journey.

2. Part-time Work for International Students

International students enrolled in Canadian institutions frequently have the opportunity to engage in part-time employment throughout their academic pursuits, opening up paths to garner practical competence and enrich their monetary resources. Notably, these scholars are typically authorized to labor up to a cap of 20 hours per week during the regular study periods and full-time when school is on a scheduled intermission.

Many post-secondary establishments in Canada extend employment opportunities primarily designed for international students right on their premises. These roles often exist within library settings, student-frequented zones, and campus food joints. Scholars can uncover these job prospects via their school’s career development resources or by checking job bulletin boards.


In conclusion, being an international student in Canada requires adept management of both academic and living expenses. Tuition fees fluctuate based on degree levels and institutions; scholarships and part-time employment opportunities are valuable means to alleviate financial challenges. Through astutely reducing costs and leveraging accessible resources, international students can optimize their educational journey in Canada.


We hope that this article on the cost of studying in Canada was helpful. To learn more information on how you can study in Canada, please visit the Study in Canada page and check out the various Open Courses to explore your study options. If you would like to know the academic and living expenses of different countries, go visit our Cost of Studying and Living by Country page to compare and contrast the countries of your choice!

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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