Is It Expensive to Study in Canada?

Many students wonder if it is expensive to study in Canada. My neighbor back home once had plans to further his studies in Canada two years ago. Now, he is already halfway into the program and will be done with the program next year. In this blog post, we will explore the cost of studying in Canada and how it compares to other countries. You will also find out other expenses that you’d need to live and study in Canada.

Studying in Canada is affordable and not expensive especially when you have made proper plans for your studies abroad. The cost to study abroad also depends on the different factors such as the school in which you want to study in Canada. Studying in another country such as Canada involves planning for your tuition, living expenses, and other costs that may come up during your stay. However, you can look for low tuition schools or available scholarships for international students in Canada. This will incredibly reduce your study cost in Canada. 

According to CIC News, Canada is now the world’s leading destination of international students with about 640,000 foreign students. Another interesting and relevant fact about studying in Canada is that about 78% of universities provide some funding to support study abroad initiatives according to a survey by Universities Canada Internationalization. 

Some universities also offer a partial or full scholarship if you meet certain criteria. However, most schools rarely offer full scholarships to international students. To be qualified for this, you may have to apply early enough as scholarships are highly competitive and limited. If you are offered a partial scholarship that covers part of all of your tuition, you may only have to bother about other expenses such as living and other expenses.

Let’s get into more detail about the study and living expenses in Canada where I show you how much it costs to study in Canada. I will also show you the advantages and the disadvantages that studying in Canada has over some other countries. Keep reading to learn more.

Tuition Fees

As I mentioned earlier, there are many factors that determine the costs of studying in Canada. For undergraduate study such as bachelor’s in Canada, tuition fees usually range from about $7,000-$50,000 per academic year while for a Master’s degree, it ranges from $3,200-$40,000 per academic year. 

The tuition fees may differ due to the school or program you want to study. If you are going for a STEM undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Canada, you are likely to spend more. However, there are also low tuition medical schools in Canada such as the Memorial University of Newfoundland. It costs about $12000. Getting a graduate diploma in the school also costs as low as $3,780. There are other schools such as this in Canada that costs as low so you can apply to these schools. 

You can also decide to pay your tuition per semester or in installments according to how the school permits. For example, if your program is 2 years which includes four semesters, you can pay installments of $2000 per semester for a $6000 tuition fee. This makes it more convenient for you to study in Canada. 

Contrary to popular belief that you’d need a full scholarship to pay your tuition for a school in Canada (although this is a viable option) because of the high tuition of some schools, you can actually pay your tuition fee. You only have to apply to schools that are inexpensive. I know a lot of people who funded their Master’s program in Canada and are still in the program. 

You can search for other schools by searching for “low tuition schools in Canada”. You will have search results filled with schools that are not expensive. Public universities usually cost less than private universities in Canada so you will be able to save some money by applying to study in a public university.  They are usually funded by the state or receive significant funds from the government. This explains why they are inexpensive and a good option for schooling abroad. 

Living Costs

Asides from the tuition fee, living in Canada will incur costs that you have to be prepared for. Your tuition fee does not cover expenses such as accommodation, feeding, transport, and other amenities. You need food to survive and you also need to transit from your lodge to the school or other places, not to mention a roof over your head. These are not luxuries but necessities so you need to prepare and include them in your plan.

Living in Canada can cost up to $10000-$12000 per year depending on the region that you are schooling and living in. This can be broken down to monthly expenses of $800-$1000. However, there are some cities or regions that are expensive in Canada such as Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver are expensive to live in while cities such as Manitoba, Newfoundland, Quebec. 

For schools in countries such as Canada, to apply for a visa, you need to have proof of funds which is usually required to be $10,000-$12,000. This is to ensure that you can fend for yourself while you are in Canada. Even if you will later get a part-time job in the school or off-campus, you are still required to have this in a Canadian bank account which will be opened for you. 

Average living costs for inexpensive cities range from about $700-$850 for food, transportation, and accommodation. Food is one of the cheapest things to get in Canada. You can get a decent meal at a restaurant for as low as $8-$10. If you like to cook your meal, you can get groceries at cheaper rates. An international student studying in Canada mentioned that even though buying food in restaurants is cheap, they find that cooking their meal at home is cheaper. 

Transportation should cost $40-$100 per month. However, the good news is that you may save a lot on transportation as some cities in Canada offer discounts to students on fares while others offer free transit on certain routes or periods of the year. 

When it comes to accommodation, you don’t have to get a luxury apartment to live in Canada. With as low as $450-$480 per month, you can get a decent student apartment in your school area so you can cut down on transportation fees. Remember that this price range varies with the city where you live or where your school is located. 

You can also consider staying in a shared apartment where you split fees with other students like you. This can help cut rent costs for you. 

Living expenses should not be a reason for being unable to study in Canada. With proper planning and preparation, you can draw up a budget for your expenses and stick with it, prioritizing the necessary expenses over unnecessary ones. You can also get by working part-time in school or outside school. Most schools require that students work only 20 hours per week so you should stick to that to avoid going against the school rules.

Other Expenses

You are probably wondering about the other expenses that you may still have to plan for after sorting your food, accommodation, and transportation. Well, you already got the basic needs figured out but there are still other expenses that you need to be aware of. They include;

  • Books
  • Internet/Wifi
  • Clothing
  • Installations
  • Study Permit (CAD150)
  • Emergencies
  • Social activities
  • Health insurance
  • Home appliances

These are important to your study and living in Canada. Study permits usually cost about CAD150 which you have to pay to study in Canada. Other school expenses are also necessary to ensure your full participation in your programs. If you don’t buy the necessary books, you may miss out on important parts of your study. If you are studying a STEM course in Canada, the cost of needed books maybe a little on the high side so you should prepare for this.

You also need wifi especially if you are required to do some courses online for the first semester or a period of time. You also need data for assignments and other important school exercises. Some apartments have wifi installed so you may not have to worry about paying extra for wifi or data.

It is advisable to engage in social activities so you can have time to relax and unwind. You need to do other things outside of academics so you don’t get overstressed with school work. You may have friends invite you to social events so you can go for one or two and have a good time. You can budget a little for this too.

Health insurance in Canada usually ranges from an average of $600 to $900 per year. Most schools in Canada require that you get health insurance before coming to Canada. Even if it is not a requirement in your school, you should get one before traveling to Canada as you never can be too prepared. You never can tell if you’ll have medical emergencies so this is important. 

Also, there may be other emergency situations that you never saw coming. Some may require that you spend some money so it is important to set little aside for such occasions.

Comparison to Other Countries

Now that you already have enough knowledge about the costs of your study in Canada, we can take a look at the comparison between studying in Canada and other popular countries.

United Kingdom

As mentioned earlier, the tuition fee in Canada can cost as low as $3780. This is not the same in the United Kingdom as the lowest tuition you can find starts from $10,000. The United Kingdom is a country that is well known for being home to the most ancient and prestigious schools in the world such as Oxford University. Such schools in the United Kingdom are expensive which is why many students prefer Canada for its low tuition option. 

United States

Choosing between Canada and the United States has always been a bone of contention for international students. While it can be quite difficult to get a post-study visa in the United States, it is quite easy to get one in Canada. Asides, it costs about $30,000-$60,000 per year to study in the U.S. Someone suggested that being good at sports is an advantage for an international student in the U.S as it can give you an advantage in studying in the U.S.

The United States do not encourage post-study stay so you will have to return to your home country after your studies in the U.S


Like most European countries, you can study in Germany at no cost as most schools are tuition-free. However, you will be required to take care of your living expenses which are essential to your study in Germany. From my research, I can see that most international students spend about 700 to 900 pounds ($939 to $1,207)per month on their living expenses. An international student who studied in Germany tried spending as low as 400 pounds ($536) per month but they mentioned how they had to skip meals to survive. 

Compared to studying in Germany, you can spend as low as 600 pounds as living costs in Canada.


Most schools in Normal are tuition-free and like most European countries, all you need to worry about is the living costs. To study in Norway as an international student, you need to budget monthly expenses of $1300 (NOK 12,000). This is higher compared to average living costs in Canada.


Overall, Canada is a relatively affordable country to study in. Students should budget their money carefully and make sure they are aware of all the costs associated with studying in Canada. This will help you prepare as you should. If you have been holding back on studying in Canada as a result of high costs, here is your cue.  Make good use of the information in this article and start planning your study in Canada.