Local and international students are not automatically admitted to study for free at universities and colleges in Canada. They are, however, subsidized, allowing students to pay for their education at a lower cost. Subsidies for education vary by province, and institutions may charge varying rates for Canadians from various provinces and international students.
Despite the fact that college and university education is not free, the subsidy makes it more accessible for both local and international students. The average cost of an undergraduate degree in Canada is CA$6,463 (about US$4885) each year, whereas international students pay an average of CA$14,000 (around US$10,581).
Full Scholarships in Canada
A full scholarship is the only method to study for free in Canada. For meritorious students, many universities offer complete scholarships. However, many Canadian and international students are expected to apply, making it a competitive procedure. Universities use diverse criteria to determine who receives these scholarships (universities have authority over their scholarship procedure even if they are financed by the provincial government), so here are some pointers on how to write a competitive scholarship application.
How to Apply for Canadian Scholarships
Emphasize your strongest academic qualities.
For this scholarship, your application will serve as a resume, so put your best foot forward. It helps to have research experience if you’re going for a degree program in science or technology. If your GPA is 3.0 or better, don’t be shy about discussing it, as most colleges and institutions utilize it to predict how well a person will perform. Because not all undergraduate and graduate students have these opportunities, emphasize your internships and community involvement. Display your exam scores, college entrance exam admissions, and other exams that give you an edge. Furthermore, for graduate students, having a peer-reviewed research paper published in a reputable journal will greatly enhance your application.
Make sure you’ve done your homework.
While you may locate a university that offers a full scholarship and is known for producing students who thrive in a certain degree program, you may discover that the degree you seek offers a mediocre or sub-par program. Don’t just accept the first university that provides full scholarships; look at their curriculum for the degree program you want to pursue. After all, this is your education, and what you learn over the following four years could be critical to your chosen professional path.
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Apply for a variety of scholarships.
Similar to job seeking, it’s conceivable that some universities will overlook your application in favor of those who they believe have a stronger application. Scholarship applications are difficult to come by, so apply to numerous universities to boost your chances.
Take a look at partial scholarships.
Consider applying for partial scholarships if you can afford to study even with a partial scholarship. Tuition in Canada is made even more affordable by government subsidies, so you’re already paying a lot less than the average tuition in other nations. Depending on your present financial situation, a 50% or 75% scholarship can still be possible. You can boost your chances of receiving scholarship offers by being flexible with the scholarships you apply for.
Students from within a province pay the least at Canadian universities.
Canadian universities charge reduced costs for residents of the province and higher fees for out-of-province students, similar to how colleges in the United States charge different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. Universities in Quebec, Newfoundland, and Labrador have some of the lowest tuition costs in Canada.
However, not all of Canada’s inexpensive universities are found in the far north. While some jurisdictions may charge higher tuition fees, some have also implemented more extensive financial aid programs for university students. Scholarships and bursaries, which are Canadian grants, are available in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. Low-income students in Ontario were even given free college for a while.
Governments subsidize university tuition for Canadian citizens, making it less expensive for them than it is for international students. According to StatCan, full-time undergraduate students in Canada paid an average of C$6,693 during the 2021-2022 academic year. International students pay between C$20,000 and C$30,000 per year, according to Universities Canada, depending on their degree of study and province.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, American students spent an average of $9,212 at public in-state four-year institutions, $26,382 at public out-of-state four-year universities, and $31,875 at private four-year universities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The cost of housing and board, books, and other expenses are not included in these statistics. International students in the United States pay $25,000-$35,000 per year on average at public institutions and $30,000-$45,000 at private universities, according to International Education Financial Aid.
Universities in Canada rely on international tuition income.
Hundreds of thousands of international students have flocked to Canada because of its reputation as a safe and hospitable country, as well as its long list of prestigious universities, including the University of Toronto, McGill University, McMaster University, and the University of British Columbia.
Tuition costs, in general, and international student tuition fees, in particular, have become increasingly important to Canadian colleges during the last decade. International students’ average tuition has risen at a quicker rate than that of Canadian students. Between the 2014-2015 and 2018-2019 academic years, the average annual tuition for international undergraduates climbed by 34% to C$27,613, according to StatCan. Domestic students’ tuition climbed by approximately 14% to C$6,822 during the same time period.
International students pay four times as much as Canadian students to attend school in Canada, yet this does not discourage them from enrolling. At fact, during the 2005-2006 and 2018-2019 school years, the number of international students enrolled in Canadian universities more than tripled, while local student enrollment climbed by 14%.
The country’s reliance on international tuition motivates it to reopen to international students. Students interested in studying in Canada should check with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the most up-to-date information on student visas and travel rules. You must first apply to a Canadian university and receive a letter of acceptance before applying for a study permit.
When it comes to visas, Canada does not give any nationality, including fellow continental Americans, special consideration. Several states, on the other hand, have formed cross-border partnerships with provinces to allow American students to study in Canada and vice versa at the local rate. The majority of tuition reciprocity agreements exist between states and provinces on the border, such as between Minnesota and Manitoba and New England and New Brunswick.
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In Canada, there are a number of universities that offer full scholarships.
Saint Mary’s University
Saint Mary’s University is on the list of tuition-free universities in Canada for international students because it offers a number of fully-funded scholarships to international students interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree.
This higher education school awards up to eight different scholarships each year to international students interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s.
Because all of the scholarships are renewable, you can keep them until the end of your program if you meet the renewal requirements.
Only newcomers (first-year students) with exceptional academic performance and documented financial need are eligible for these scholarships.
Concordia University has joined the list of tuition-free universities in Canada for international students by offering the Presidential Scholarship, a newly constituted full-flight grant.
The prize is fully funded and renewable for up to four years if the winner meets the renewal condition, as you would have predicted.
The Concordia Presidential Scholarship is only available to international students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in any of the university’s undergraduate programs.
Students that display academic achievement, leadership abilities, and a desire to improve the global society are excellent candidates for this scholarship.
The award is given once a year and is very competitive, covering not only tuition but also books and living expenses.
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is one of many Canadian colleges that can be found on a list of tuition-free universities for international students.
This higher education school sets aside $5 million each year for international student scholarships across all lines of study.
Incoming students who demonstrate academic distinction, financial need, community involvement, and other areas of accomplishment and assistance are eligible for the awards.
The scholarship is also renewable for up to four years as long as you meet the renewal requirements, so you can attend a prestigious university like the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and study a program of your choice tuition-free.
The University of Toronto is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
At the University of Toronto, there are a variety of funding options available that are partially financed, fully funded, and open to all types of students in all degree programs and levels of study.
However, thanks to the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship Program, this outstanding university can join the list of tuition-free universities in Canada for international students.
The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship Program is sponsored by a number of notable Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto.
The scholarship program is completely financed, covering tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residential support for four years, making award recipients tuition-free University of Toronto students.
This scholarship is awarded to newly admitted students at the University of Toronto who desire to pursue an undergraduate program.
The prize is primarily aimed at international students who are critical thinkers, have exhibited academic brilliance and leadership talents, and are eager to learn and expand their minds.
The University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is included in this list of tuition-free universities in Canada for international students because it offers a variety of government and privately sponsored scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students.
Although some of the scholarships are fully financed, some are partially funded, and others are fellowships, bursaries, and other types of financial aid.
The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) are the greatest option for you because we are presenting you with scholarships that will make your education in Canada as an international graduate student tuition-free.
Please note that only graduate students are able to apply for the VCGS award, which can be renewed for up to three years of your graduate program. The scholarship is government-funded and offered through a number of universities across Canada, including the University of Calgary.
Fortunately, we have published an article on the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, which you may find helpful because it includes all relevant information, such as application requirements and deadlines, application process, eligibility, and colleges that provide the award.
Apart from that, undergraduate international students are not left out, as the University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship allows them to study any bachelor degree program of their choice tuition-free.
The award can be renewed for up to four years if the winner meets the renewal criteria.
The University of Waterloo is a public university in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
You might wonder, why was this university included on the list of tuition-free institutions in Canada for international students?
The University of Waterloo offers the top two fully-funded international student scholarships in Canada. The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholarships and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship are offered to masters and graduate students at Waterloo until the end of their program.
Carleton University is a public university in Ottawa, Canada.
Another great Canadian university on the list of tuition-free universities in Canada for overseas students is this one, where you can earn a bachelor’s degree for free. This is made possible by Carleton University’s foreign admission rewards, which are exclusively available to students who are enrolling for the first time at the university.
If you meet the renewal requirements, your scholarship will be extended for another three years.
York University is a famed public institution in New York City
York University is a really popular Canadian university that awards a number of scholarship opportunities to international students. It is important to note that only three of these scholarships are fully funded scholarships, which allows international students to attend York University on free tuition.
York University’s Automatic Entrance Awards, the International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction, and the Global Leader of Tomorrow Award for International Students are among the scholarships available.
These scholarships are only available to international students who wish to study at York University for an undergraduate degree. Students who obtain these scholarships can extend them for three more years, which is why York University is on the list of tuition-free universities in Canada for overseas students.
If you win the award and maintain good academic standing each year, you’ll be able to study and finish your bachelor’s degree at York University without having to pay tuition.
The University of British Columbia is an institution based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) ranks as one of Canada’s top-rated higher education institutions, as three popular need and merit-based scholarships are awarded through the UBC International Scholars Program.
These scholarships are fully funded, and they can be renewed for another three years if you meet the renewal requirements after being chosen for the scholarship.
You’ll picture yourself pursuing and earning your desired bachelor’s degree at a top-ranked college without having to worry about tuition costs.
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This concludes the list of tuition-free institutions in Canada for international students, or, as you may have seen, a list of universities in Canada that offer completely funded scholarships. There are more institutions in Canada that provide scholarships, but the ones listed below were hand-picked because they provide fully-funded scholarships that allow you to attend a tuition-free Canadian university.