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Expenditure For Studying in Canada

Canada is comparatively cheaper as compared to other popular destinations for international students like the U.S, U.K and Australia.

As an international student in Canada, you will have to not only pay for your tuition fee, but also pay for many additional expenses such as your accommodation, food, books etc. All these expenses form a significant part of your expenditure while you’re studying in Canada or any other foreign country.

Studying abroad is a big financial investment, even if you’re studying in a comparatively cheaper country like Canada. It is best to go through the typical costs of studying and living there as a part of your research and then decide whether pursuing your undergraduate education in Canada is a financially viable option for you or not.

The various factors that impact your total expenditure significantly in Canada are mentioned below.


Type of College/University

The Canadian post – secondary education system primarily comprises of Public universities which are funded by the Government. However, there are a small number of Private universities which have the authority to grant degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

It is a general rule that Public universities tend to be cheaper than Private universities in Canada. For example, at the Trinity Western University, a private institution, the annual tuition fee for B.A programs is around 22,260 Canadian Dollars. On the other hand, the annual tuition fee at a public institution like the Simon Frasier University is around 15,000 Canadian Dollars.

Some of the most expensive universities in Canada are private institutions such as the Quest University which charges around 30,000 Canadian Dollars per year as tuition fee and the Fairleigh Dickinson University, which charges around 34,000 Canadian Dollars per year as tuition fee.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no clear – cut rule that applies to each and every university in Canada with regards to tuition fee for international students. You might come across private universities which are cheaper than a lot of public universities. However, such instances are rare and do not apply to the majority of institutions in Canada.

Apart from the big universities, Canada also has many smaller ‘Colleges’ and ‘Community colleges’ which offer post – secondary education. It is important to keep in mind that even though some of them happen to be cheaper alternatives to universities, a big majority of them are not allowed to award degrees and can only offer diplomas and certificates.


Type and Structure of Course

Along with the type of university you join, the type of course you pursue can also significantly impact your total expenditure.

A majority of the universities in Canada have different tuition fee rates for different subjects. Generally, programs that are related to the fields of Arts and Humanities tend to cheaper than Science based programs. Programs related to Medicine are generally the most expensive.

For example, at the University of British Columbia, the annual tuition fee rates for Arts programs is around 23,300 Canadian Dollars, whereas for Engineering programs it is around 27,183 Canadian Dollars.

Another example of these differential tuition fee rates can be seen at the York University, where the annual tuition fee rates for Arts programs are around 20,000 Canadian Dollars, but the tuition fee rate for the Business programs is around 27,000 Canadian Dollars per year.

The structure and duration of your course will also make a significant impact on your total expenditure. For example, at the Athabasca University, you can choose to pursue a 3 – year or a 4 – year B.A program. Needless to say, you will need to pay more for the 4 year program not only in terms of tuition fees but also with regards to accommodation and other costs.

A majority of the universities in Canada calculate your tuition fee on the basis of the amount of credits you choose to take up. If you take up extra courses along with your full course load (if permitted by your university), then you will generally have to pay an additional amount for every additional course.

Generally, you will have to pay an additional fee apart from your tuition fee if you choose to pursue a ‘Co – operative program’, which includes a paid work term. However, you will also get an opportunity to earn additional money through the Co – operative program apart from gaining essential work experience.


Foreign Exchange Rate

Any fluctuations in the Foreign Exchange Rate between the Canadian Dollar and the Indian Rupee can make a significant difference to your total expenditure. If the value of the Indian rupee increases, then you will end up paying lesser than what you were going to initially. However, if the value of the Indian rupee decreases, then you will have to pay more than what you had calculated earlier.

It is best to keep a margin for such fluctuations in the exchange rate while calculating the total expenditure you will incur while studying in Canada.


Location of University

The location of your university can make a huge difference to your total expenditure. Whether it is situated in a small town or a big metropolitan city will significantly impact the university’s tuition fee rates as well as living costs.

For example, at the University of Prince Edward Island, situated in a small Canadian town called Charlottetown, the annual tuition fee rates for international students are around 14,000 Canadian Dollars. On the other hand, at the York University, which is situated in a big metropolitan city like Toronto, the annual tuition fee rates are around 19,576 Canadian Dollars.

The living expenses that you will have to incur are also affected by the location of your university. For example, at the University of Manitoba situated in a considerably big city called Winnipeg, the annual living costs range from 12,000 to 23,000 Canadian Dollars (including expenses like accommodation, food etc.). However, the annual living costs at the Queen’s University, which is situated in a comparatively much smaller town called Kingston, the annual living costs range from 10,000 to 13,000 Canadian Dollars (including expenses like accommodation, food etc.).

However, keep in mind that these differences are not applicable to all universities in Canada. You might come across universities that are situated in small towns but cost the same as universities situated in big cities.

Additionally, the rates mentioned are calculated on an average. The actual costs you incur can be very different from another international student studying at the same university. A lot will depend on the type of accommodation you live in, your meal plans and personal expenses.


Other Expenses

Apart from your tuition fee, you will also have to pay for additional expenses like Accommodation, Food, Books, and Personal Expenses etc. It can be beneficial if you find ways to save up on such expenses so as to make studying in Canada more affordable for you.

As far as accommodation is concerned, you will need to decide whether you wish to live on – campus or off – campus. Go through the university website and check the costs of living on – campus and off – campus. Choose between these two options as per your budget and personal preferences.

You will also need to decide whether you wish to subscribe to a meal plan offered by your university or cook on your own. The charges for different meal plans will also be mentioned on your university website.

You will have to shell out a significant amount of money for other expenses like Books, Entertainment, Personal Expenses etc. There are various ways through which you can save money on such expenses such as buying used books, using public transport etc. Such small savings can add up over time and significantly reduce your total expenditure.

According to the University of Manitoba, in 1 calendar year, international undergraduate students spend on an average, somewhere between 1,000 – 5,000 Canadian Dollars on Books and Supplies, 4,800 – 12,000 Canadian Dollars on Accommodation, 2,700 Canadian Dollars on Food, 270 Canadian Dollars on Health and Insurance, 600 Canadian Dollars on Clothing, 750 Canadian Dollars on Travel (by bus) and around 1,500 Canadian Dollars on Entertainment and other Miscellaneous expenses.


Financial Aids and Scholarships

It is very important to go through the type of scholarships and financial aids that you are eligible to receive while calculating the total costs that you will have to incur to pursue an undergraduate program in Canada. Such aids can help you drastically reduce your total expenditure.

Most universities in Canada offer some or the other form of scholarships for international students. The most common of these are the ones based on merit, which are awarded to students with exceptional talent in academics, arts or sports etc.

Some universities in Canada also provide grants, bursaries and need – based scholarships for students who can prove that they are financially needy and cannot afford the tuition fees or living costs. McGill University is one such institution known for providing need – based grants to international students.

Some universities even provide emergency loans to international students in case of unforeseen circumstances. However, these are normally only applicable to students who have been granted admission and are currently studying in Canada but are unable to fund themselves either totally or partly due to a change in their financial situation.

Apart from scholarships and grants provided by the universities, you should also check whether any type of financial aids are offered for international undergraduate students by the Canadian or the Indian Government.

Under most circumstances, all these scholarships and aids will be subject to many conditions and strict eligibility criteria. Keep in mind that there will be massive competition for any financial aid and it is not advisable to rely on any such aid until and unless you receive a confirmation from the appropriate authorities.


Part – Time Work and Co – operative Programs

You should also look into the possibility of doing part – time work along with your studies as this can help you earn some additional money alongside your studies.

The Canadian Government allows international students to work for a total of 20 hours per week while your program is in session and full – time during holidays.

International students are allowed to work both on – campus and off – campus. However, to work off – campus, you will need an additional ‘Student Work – Permit’ sanctioned by the Canadian Government. Additionally, you will not be allowed to work off – campus within the first 6 months of your program.

Do not expect to be able to fund anything more than a small part of your living expenses through such jobs as you will only be allowed to work for not more than 20 hours a week for most of the year. Also, the salaries from such jobs will not be enough so as to able to contribute towards paying the full or even a part of your tuition fee.

On an average, international students generally earn around 8 – 12 Canadian Dollars per hour by doing part – time work.

You will be allowed to work full – time for a long duration in case the program you are pursuing is a ‘Co – operative program’. Such programs include a work – term for students as a part of their course in which students take up temporary jobs related to their course for which they are paid by their employers.

Keep in mind that the purpose of such programs is not to earn money but to contribute towards your education and overall development by gaining essential practical experience.

You will only be eligible for this if the co – operative work term is a significant part of your program. Additionally, the total length of the co – operative work term should not be more than 50% of the program.

These co – operative work terms are generally only applicable to students who have a maintained a good academic standing throughout the initial period of their program. The minimum requirements to be eligible for such programs differ from university to university.

The typical salaries that students earn while they are on their work – term depend on many factors including their course, personality and academic record. According to the University of Waterloo, their undergraduate students earn anywhere between 43,000 – 77,000 Canadian Dollars by the time they graduate.

As per the Mount Saint Vincent University, the average salaries for co – operative programs range from 11 – 18 Canadian Dollars per hour for an average work period of 35 hours per week.


Mandatory Health Insurance

A majority of the universities in Canada, including Universities like the Carleton University and the Bishop’s University require international students to subscribe for the health insurance offered by their university or any other organization that associated with them.

International students are generally required to pay for the health insurance for the whole duration of their course unless they have been granted special permission.


Study in Canada