Cost of Studying in Canada: Budgeting Tips for International Students

Canada is one of the most popular destinations for international students who want to pursue higher education abroad. Canada offers world-class education, multicultural diversity, and post-graduation work opportunities for qualified students. However, studying in Canada also comes with a significant cost that requires careful planning and budgeting. In this article, we will provide some useful information and tips on how to estimate and manage your expenses as an international student in Canada.

Tuition Fees

The first and most obvious expense that you will have to consider is the tuition fee for your chosen program and institution. Tuition fees vary depending on the level of study, the province, and the school. According to Statistics Canada, the national average tuition fee for an undergraduate program in 2021/2022 was $32,019 and the average tuition fee for a graduate program was $20,120. However, these are only averages and some programs and schools may charge much higher or lower fees. For example, Ontario is the most expensive province for international students with above-average undergraduate tuition fees of $40,724 and the least expensive province is New Brunswick with undergraduate tuition fees below average at $16,724.

To find out the exact tuition fee for your program and school, you will have to check their official websites or contact their admissions offices. You will also have to factor in other fees such as application fee, student association fee, health insurance fee, and other miscellaneous fees that may apply to your situation. You should also be aware that tuition fees may increase every year due to inflation and other factors.

Living Expenses

The second major expense that you will have to budget for is your living expenses. This includes your accommodation, food, transportation, and personal expenses. Living expenses also vary depending on the city, the type of accommodation, and your lifestyle. According to Universities Canada, the average living cost for a university student in Canada was around $15,000 per year in 2019. However, this is also an average and some cities and regions may have higher or lower costs of living. For example, Toronto and Vancouver are among the most expensive cities in Canada, while Montreal and Halifax are among the more affordable ones.

To estimate your living expenses, you will have to research the cost of different types of accommodation (such as on-campus residence, off-campus apartment, homestay, etc.), the cost of food (such as groceries, eating out, meal plans, etc.), the cost of transportation (such as public transit, bike, car, etc.), and the cost of personal expenses (such as clothing, entertainment, phone, internet, etc.). You can use online tools such as Numbeo or Expatistan to compare the cost of living in different cities in Canada. You can also use this calculator from EduCanada to estimate your total study cost based on your program, school, and city.

Scholarships and Financial AidNursing Abroad images 61

One way to reduce your study cost in Canada is to apply for scholarships and financial aid. There are many sources of funding available for international students, such as the Canadian government, provincial governments, universities and colleges, private organizations, and foundations. Some scholarships are based on academic merit, while others are based on financial need, leadership, community involvement, or other criteria. Some scholarships are open to all international students, while others are specific to certain countries, regions, or fields of study.

To find and apply for scholarships and financial aid, you will have to do some research and preparation. You can start by checking the websites of your prospective schools and programs, as they may offer scholarships and bursaries for international students. You can also use online databases such as ScholarshipsCanada or Yconic to search for scholarships that match your profile and interests. You can also check the websites of the Canadian government and your home country’s government to see if they offer any scholarships or loans for studying abroad. You should also look for other sources of funding such as non-governmental organizations, corporation or foundations that may offer scholarships or grants for international students.

When applying for scholarships and financial aid, you will have to pay attention to the eligibility requirements, the application deadlines, and the application process. You will also have to prepare the necessary documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, portfolios, etc. You should also be prepared to write a compelling personal statement that showcases your academic achievements, career goals, and reasons for choosing Canada as your study destination. You should also be ready to demonstrate your financial need, if applicable, by providing proof of income, expenses, and assets.

Budgeting Tips

Besides finding ways to reduce your study cost, you should also find ways to manage your money wisely and save as much as possible. Here are some budgeting tips for international students in Canada:

  • Use a budgeting app or tool to track your income and expenses. This will help you to see where your money is going and where you can cut back or save more. You can use free apps such as Mint or You Need a Budget to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts and monitor your cash flow.
  • Use your student discounts. As a student, you can benefit from various discounts on products and services, such as books, clothing, entertainment, transportation, etc. You just need to show your student card or use your student email to access these discounts. You can also use apps such as Student Price Card or UNiDAYS to find and redeem student deals.
  • Live with roommates. Sharing an apartment or a house with other students can help you to save on rent and utilities. You can also split the cost of groceries and other household items. You can use websites such as Places4Students or Roomster to find and connect with potential roommates.
  • Cook your own meals. Eating out or ordering food can be convenient but also expensive. Cooking your own meals at home can help you to save money and eat healthier. You can also plan your meals ahead and buy groceries in bulk or on sale. You can use apps such as Flipp or Checkout 51 to find and compare grocery deals and coupons.
  • Use public transportation or bike. Driving a car can be costly due to gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance fees. Using public transportation or biking can be cheaper and more eco-friendly. You can also use apps such as Transit or Moovit to plan your trips and find the best routes and schedules.
  • Find low-cost or free hobbies. Having fun and socializing with friends is important for your mental and physical well-being. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy yourself. You can find low-cost or free hobbies, such as hiking, biking, reading, gaming, volunteering, etc. You can also join clubs and societies on campus or in your community that match your interests and passions.

Registration Processes and Procedures

The final step to studying in Canada is to complete the registration processes and procedures for your school and your study permit. Here are some of the steps that you will have to follow:

  • Accept your offer of admission. Once you receive an offer of admission from your chosen school, you will have to accept it and pay a deposit fee to secure your spot. You will also receive a letter of acceptance, which you will need for your study permit application.
  • Apply for a study permit. A study permit is a document that allows you to study in Canada for a specific period of time. You will need a study permit if your program is longer than six months. You can apply for a study permit online or through a visa application centre in your country. You will need to provide various documents, such as your letter of acceptance, your passport, your proof of financial support, your language test results, your medical exam results, etc. You will also have to pay an application fee of $150. You should apply for your study permit as soon as possible, as the processing time may vary depending on your country and the season. You can check the processing time and the status of your application on the [IRCC website].
  • Prepare for your arrival. Before you travel to Canada, you will have to prepare for your arrival and make sure you have everything you need. You will have to book your flight, arrange your accommodation, pack your luggage, exchange your money, get your health insurance, etc. You will also have to follow the [COVID-19 travel requirements], such as taking a pre-departure test, submitting your information through the [ArriveCAN app], booking a government-authorized hotel for your mandatory quarantine, etc. You should also review the [information for international students] provided by the Canadian government and your school.

Arrive in Canada. When you arrive in Canada, you will have to go through the immigration and customs process. You will have to present your passport, your study permit approval letter, your letter of acceptance, your proof of funds, your quarantine plan, etc. You will also have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and follow the quarantine rules until you receive a negative result. You will also have to check in with your school and complete your registration and orientation. You will also have to activate your study permit by reporting your arrival to the [IRCC website]. You will then receive your study permit as a physical document or an electronic document in your online account.


  • Studying in Canada can be a rewarding and enriching experience for international students. However, it also requires a lot of planning and budgeting to cover the various costs involved. By doing your research, applying for scholarships and financial aid, and managing your money wisely, you can make your dream of studying in Canada a reality. We hope this article has provided you with some useful information and tips on how to estimate and manage your study cost in Canada. We wish you all the best in your academic journey.

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