Plan Your Career

Funding your Education in Canada

Before you apply to universities in Canada, you will need to make a decision regarding how you plan to fund your studies. This is very important as most universities would want you to mention whether you wish to be considered for a scholarship or not in the application form itself.

Not only that, but if you wish to be considered for a scholarship, then you might have to submit your application form much sooner than other applicants.

Additionally, you will not be granted a Canadian Study Permit until and unless you can prove that you have the financial resources available to fund your tuition, living and travel expenses while in Canada.

Therefore it becomes very important to have made a decision with regards to your funds before you apply to a Canadian university so that you can be considered for a scholarship if you wish to and so that you can prove your financial ability when applying for the Canadian Study Permit.

Clarity about your funds and financial resources will help you concentrate on your studies while in Canada and make wise decisions with regards to university and visa applications.


First of all, you should calculate the total expenditure that you will incur during your 3 or 4 year Bachelor’s degree program in Canada. Your expenditure will include your tuition fee, living expenses, personal expenses and travelling costs. Approximate figures of these costs are generally mentioned on university websites.

Once you calculate your total expenditure, compare it with the total funds you have at your disposal to study in Canada and answer the following questions:

-          Will my parents be able to afford this university/program?

-          If yes, then what will be the source of funding?

-          And if not, then are there any financial aids available?


The best situation is the one in which you can afford your total costs and are clear about the financial sources that are going to be utilized to fund your studies and stay in Canada.

However, if you feel that the program/university is beyond your budget, then try considering the factors that affect your total expenditure while in Canada. It is possible that another program at a different university in Canada might suit your budget much more as compared to your previous choice.

In a situation where the total costs of studying in Canada still exceed your budget, you should consider applying for a scholarship or other forms of financial aid that are available for Indian students who wish to pursue an undergraduate course in Canada.


Financial Aids and Scholarships:

A variety of financial aids and scholarships are available for Indian students who wish to pursue their undergraduate studies in Canada. The nature, eligibility and amount of these aids and scholarships differ from university to university.


Merit – Based Scholarships

These are the most common form of financial aid available to international students in Canada. They are awarded on the basis of merit to international and domestic students across all programs.

Almost all universities in Canada offer such scholarships to their students. However, the amount and nature of such scholarships differs greatly from university to university.

You will generally need to excel in academics, athletics, performing arts or debating etc. to receive such awards. Some universities also offer these scholarships to students with exceptional leadership qualities.

For example, the University of Alberta offers Indian students a ‘University of Alberta Indian Centenary Scholarship’. Through this scholarship, an Indian student pursuing an undergraduate course at the University of Alberta can be awarded up to a total of 20,000 Canadian Dollars which will be payable over 4 years provided that the student has an exceptional academic record and maintains a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout his/her 4 years of education.

Many universities in Canada also offer ‘Entrance or Admission’ Scholarships to newly admitted students. However, the amounts received from such scholarships are generally very small and not significant enough to make a big contribution towards your total costs of studying in Canada.

You might also be awarded a merit – based scholarship in your 2nd or 3rd year of undergraduate studies in Canada provided that your academic scores are excellent.

Some scholarships are also offered by a particular faculty of a university. So, a student pursuing Engineering might be eligible for certain scholarships that a student pursuing Commerce is not eligible for and vice – versa.

Keep in mind that scholarships do not necessarily fund the total cost of your education but can certainly make studying in Canada more affordable for you. However, getting these scholarships is not easy and you will generally require an exceptional academic record to be considered for one.

Each university has its own set of merit – based scholarships and it is best to go through the university website and see the types of scholarships available for international students and their application procedure.


Need – Based Scholarships

Many universities in Canada also offer scholarships on the basis of need. Such scholarships or financial awards are generally given to students who are financially needy and are facing difficulties in funding their education in Canada.

Need – based scholarships are generally awarded to students whose financial conditions have changed after entering Canada. The amount and eligibility criteria differ from university to university.

Many universities such as the Acadia University offer need – based scholarships in the form of grants and bursaries of small amounts to help financially needy students continue their Bachelor’s degree course.

Universities like the McGill University and the University of Toronto are known for their need – based scholarships for international students.



Apart from the above financial aids that are offered by colleges and universities, International students can apply for loans in various national and international banks. These loans are provided to students who meet certain criteria that can range from exceptional academic records to the availability of collateral.

Indian banks are more likely to provide you with such loans as compared to international banks. It is advisable to go to the bank and find out whether you’re eligible for such loans and if yes, then what would be the terms and conditions of the loan.

Many universities offer ‘Emergency Loans’ to students so as to help them deal with unforeseen financial circumstances. The eligibility criteria and amounts of these loans vary across different universities.


Part – Time Work

Working part – time alongside your studies in Canada can contribute towards funding your stay and studies in Canada. However, it is not wise to expect that working part – time will help you fund a major portion of the tuition fee or living expenses as the salaries from such work are very less.

In Canada, you will be allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week either on – campus or off – campus.

Most universities have ‘Work – Study Programs’ that offer on – campus work to university students. Such programs help the university take care of its operational requirements by recruiting students who are enrolled in a program offered by the university. You will not require a work permit to start doing working on – campus.

Students are also allowed to work off – campus and take up jobs with individual employers. However, keep in mind that you would require an off – campus work permit to start working outside the campus. Additionally, you will not be allowed to work off – campus within the first 6 months of your program.

The typical salaries for both on – campus and off – campus work are between 8 – 12 Canadian Dollars per hour. You will need a ‘Social Insurance Number’ or SIN to start working on or off – campus in Canada.

Many universities in Canada also offer ‘Co – operative work programs’ that include off – campus work terms as a part of the curriculum. Students use such programs to gain theoretical knowledge and then apply that knowledge in the practical world.

Even though the purpose of such programs is to gain practical experience, you can also use these programs to earn some money on the side during your work – term. The typical salaries you will get from such work depend on your course and academic record.

You will only be eligible for such programs 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.


How to apply for such scholarships and aids?

Getting any form of scholarship is a very difficult task and you will need an exceptional academic record to receive one. Under most circumstances, you will have to take the initiative and approach universities, banks and external organizations.

The first thing you need to do to get a scholarship or any other form of financial aid is research. Go through university websites and find out about the various forms of scholarships that they offer to international students at the undergraduate level. Contact banks, both national and international, and find out about the availability of educational loans.

It can also be beneficial to visit the Indian and Canadian Government websites and go through their sections on undergraduate education and scholarships.

Some universities might require you to fill in separate forms for scholarships while some include the scholarship application in their main application form. Many universities offer certain scholarships for which all students are considered automatically.

Go through the eligibility criteria for a scholarship beforehand to make sure that you’re eligible. It is advisable that you apply for as many scholarships and financial aids as possible, provided that you meet their eligibility criteria.

Find out and apply for scholarships and aids early so that you do not miss their deadlines. Keep in mind that the deadlines for most scholarship applicants will be much before the deadlines for all other applicants.

You should not rely on receiving any such scholarship until and unless you’ve been confirmed that you will be receiving one in due time. There are thousands of applicants for any scholarship and you will only be awarded one if you are considered to be the most suitable candidate amongst all the other candidates.


Study in Canada