Are you looking for ways to study in Canada for free? Studying in Canada isn’t always cheap, considering tuition and living costs. Although Canada doesn’t offer universities with zero tuition, there are still ways to study there without a hefty price tag or even for free.
Canada is a top choice for international students around the world as it is known for its high-quality education. As the seventh-best study-abroad destination in the world, you can study impressive academic courses and get promising job prospects after graduation in Canada.
As an immigrant living in British Columbia, I’ve experienced the realities of studying here. Many people have fantasies of studying in Canada and are sold dreams by travel agents. But the reality is quite the opposite. The toughest part isn’t getting your visa or admission into a Canadian university; it is the mental shift you’ll have to undergo.
Studying in Canada will be a learning curve beyond academics. You’ll learn time management, take up various jobs like flipping burgers, working as a security guard, or at a gas station. These experiences will make you value every profession and take your education more seriously. If you want to study in Canada for almost free, you’ll have to stay focused on your studies, venture outside, and seek employment.
This article will show you the different ways you can study in Canada even with low income.
Can I Study in Canada for Free?
If you’re here, you’re wondering if you can study in Canada without breaking the bank. Unlike certain Scandinavian countries and Germany, Canada doesn’t provide free college education. But that shouldn’t discourage you. There are many ways to make studying in Canada more affordable.
You have to first consider your daily expenses when you’re studying in Canada. Cooking at home can save you a lot more than dining out regularly. Also, think about where you shop. Second-hand stores can be treasure troves of quality items at a fraction of the original price. And remember, walking is not only good for your health but also your wallet. Whenever possible, avoid public transport and walk.
Peer pressure can be a budget killer. Whether it’s gym memberships, dance classes, or the latest gadgets, think twice before spending. Every dollar saved is a dollar closer to your educational goals in Canada.
Think about your university choices. While Canada might not have tuition-free institutions, there are affordable ones out there. And don’t forget about student discounts. They’re available in many places, from bookstores to cafes, so always keep an eye out.
While Canada might not offer free education, there are other avenues to explore. Scholarships, grants, and part-time jobs can significantly reduce your financial strain. You can keep your dream alive and explore all the options at your disposal.
How to Study in Canada for Free
You can lessen the financial burdens of studying in Canada by applying for scholarships, government scholarships, tuition waivers, low budget virtual classes or working while studying. Let’s look at each option and how you can take advantage of any.
Apply for Scholarships from Universities
Many Canadian universities offer fully-funded scholarships. By applying for these scholarships, you can potentially study in Canada without spending anything.
Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is one of those scholarships. It’s designed for international students who shine academically and creatively. Every year, 37 students get this scholarship, covering everything from tuition and books to housing for their entire four-year undergrad journey.
You can also target scholarships at the University of British Columbia. This university has two major scholarships for international students. The Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award is for those who excel academically and lead with purpose while the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award is for students from challenging backgrounds who’ve achieved academic excellence.
York University doesn’t hold back when it comes to helping international students. One of their standout scholarships is the International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction. It offers CAD$35,000 every year for up to four years, totaling CAD$140,000, based on your academic prowess.
These scholarships are awarded based on merit, so be sure to submit a strong application and highlight your academic achievements and extracurricular activities
Study in Canada for Free with Government Scholarships
Another option is to apply for scholarships from the Canadian government. The Canadian government, as well as some foreign governments, offer scholarships to students with stellar academic achievements who are keen on studying overseas.
One of such scholarships is the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships. It is specifically for international PhD students and is one of Canada’s top scholarships. You need to have an impressive academic history, potential for research, and leadership skills to qualify for this scholarship. Lucky recipients get CAD$50,000 every year for a span of three years.
Another government scholarship that can benefit you is the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED). This program is for ASEAN students, allowing them a chance for a brief exchange to study or conduct research in a Canadian tertiary institution. You’re eligible for this scholarship whether you’re in college, pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Application Fee Waivers
Application fee waivers are financial aid that reduces or eliminates the application fees you have to pay. They are granted by the institution or government and are often based on financial needs or specific criteria established by the institution. How do application fee waivers differ from scholarships?
Scholarships are awarded by various organizations, institutions, or individuals and are based on factors such as academic excellence, talents, or achievements. Scholarships may cover tuition fees, living expenses, or other educational costs and are applicable to students at different institutions or universities.
There are some Canadian institutions that waive off application fees for international students.
One of such is University of British Columbia (UBC). Standing tall as Canada’s third-best university, UBC has made its mark in the top 50 global universities as per the QS World Rankings 2023. If you’re an international student from one of the world’s 50 least-developed countries, the University of British Columbia might just waive off your application fee.
Another university that waivers application fees is University of New Brunswick (UNB). UNB is also one of the oldest public universities on the North American continent. A little heads-up for those of you eyeing this institution – their application fee waiver is specifically for Canadian high school students or international students who are currently studying in a Canadian high school.
So, if you’re pondering the question, “Can I study in Canada for free?”, while tuition might not be free, there are definitely ways to save on application fees. It’s always a good idea to research and reach out to universities directly to understand their fee structures and any potential waivers they might offer.
Working While Studying
Considering the expenses of studying, wouldn’t it be helpful to earn while you learn? In Canada, international students often seek part-time jobs, not just for income but also for valuable work experience. The Canadian student permit allows you to work part-time while you’re enrolled in a course. You can work up to 20 hours a week during the academic term and even full-time during your breaks.
There are many different part-time jobs available to international students in Canada. Some popular part-time jobs include:
- Tutoring: If you have expertise in a particular subject, why not share your knowledge? Tutoring is a sought-after job among international students in Canada. It’s not just about the money; it’s also about the flexibility. You can set your hours around your classes. On average, tutors earn around US$15 per hour.
- Dog Walking: Love dogs? This might be the perfect job for you. Dog walking is not only enjoyable but also pays well. With an average earning of US$20 per hour, it’s among the top-paying part-time jobs. And finding a position is relatively easy with several dog-walking businesses around, like Rover, which is quite popular in Canada.
- Restaurant server: Working as a restaurant server can be a good way to earn some extra money, but it is important to be aware that you will need to work evenings and weekends.
- Customer service representative: Working as a customer service representative is a good way to develop your communication and interpersonal skills.
No matter what part-time job you choose, make sure that you do your research and read the job description carefully before you apply.
Study in Canada for Free via Virtual Programs
Studying online in Canada offers you a chance to save a good deal of money. You don’t have to worry about the costs of relocating or daily commuting to a campus. Plus, many resources and textbooks are available online, which means you can often access them without any extra cost. The rise of online education in Canada became even more prominent during the pandemic.
One of the great advantages is that, even if you complete your entire degree online, you’re still eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) after graduation, provided you have a student permit.
Now, let’s talk about some Canadian universities that offer online courses for international students:
At Laurentian University, one of Canada’s top online universities, you have a plethora of choices. They offer over 27-degree programs encompassing more than 350 courses. These range from undergraduate programs in fields like criminology, sociology, and business administration. You can opt to do the entire program online or mix it up with a year of on-campus study for a more immersive experience.
Did you know Queen’s University pioneered online learning in Canada? They started offering courses through mail as far back as 1889. Today, they have a vast array of over 140 online courses spanning engineering, law, arts and science, education, and more. The flexibility they offer is commendable. All their classes are recorded, allowing you to learn at your convenience. However, they do have set deadlines for assignments. Some of their courses even blend online with in-person sessions to offer hands-on learning experiences.
So, while studying in Canada for free might not be entirely possible due to tuition fees, online education certainly makes it more affordable and accessible for many.
Is it Difficult to Get Admission in Canadian Universities?
There are several factors that can influence your chances of getting accepted into Canadian educational institutions. Each college or university in Canada has its unique set of admission criteria.
Your academic performance plays a significant role. If your grades aren’t up to the mark, it could be a major hurdle. Many schools in Canada set a minimum grade or GPA that applicants need to achieve. As an international student, proving your English proficiency might be essential. Falling short on tests like IELTS or TOEFL could be a potential setback for your application.
Certain courses have specific requirements that you need to fulfill. Additionally, some courses are highly sought after, and the competition can be fierce. The more popular a program, the harder it might be to get in.
Always pay attention to the details when applying. Missing out on submitting any required documents or not adhering to deadlines can be detrimental to your chances. Your personal statement and letters of recommendation are also vital components of your application. If they don’t resonate with the admissions team or don’t effectively highlight your strengths, it might affect your chances of acceptance.
Beyond your academic achievements, schools often look for candidates with a well-rounded profile. If your application lacks extracurricular activities or relevant experiences, it could be seen as a disadvantage. Lastly, as an international student, you might be required to demonstrate your financial readiness. Not being able to showcase that you can cover your tuition and living expenses can be a concern for many institutions.
Remember that while these factors are essential, they are just part of the bigger picture. Always do thorough research and prepare well before applying to any Canadian institution.
Can Foreigners Study in Canada for Free?
If you’re a resident of Canada, your family’s income doesn’t play a role in your ability to study. The country offers various grants and bursaries that can cover your entire education. This is because Canadian universities receive significant support from both provincial and federal governments. These governments prioritize their citizens, who contribute through taxes. In return, they benefit from several services, including a highly subsidized education.
However, if you’re an international student, the scenario changes. You haven’t contributed to the Canadian tax system, and there’s no guarantee you’ll stay post-graduation. As a result, free education isn’t an option, and grants or bursaries are limited. Typically, an international student might need to shell out CAD25,000 or more annually.
If you’re a foreigner who’s considering studying in Canada, it’s essential to research universities and their offerings. Look out for the low income universities that fit your budget. Once you secure admission, the university’s admissions office can guide you in obtaining a student visa. But remember, you’ll only be considered for admission if you or your guardians can prove the availability of sufficient funds for your education. After three years of study, you’ll be closer to obtaining a work permit, Permanent Residence visa, and eventually, Canadian citizenship.
Canada boasts a high standard of living, a thriving tech market, and opportunities for all. It’s a modern nation that welcomes students from around the world, but you need to be aware of the financial implications.
Can you study in Canada for free? While there are no tuition-free universities in Canada, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of your education, including scholarships, bursaries, and grants.
One of the best ways to study in Canada for free is to apply for scholarships. There are a number of scholarships available to international students, both from the Canadian government and from universities and other organizations. Scholarships are typically awarded based on academic merit, financial need, or a combination of both.
Studying in Canada can be an expensive proposition, but it is possible to do it for free. By exploring the different options available to you and carefully planning your finances, you can make your dream of studying in Canada a reality.
Visit the Canadian government website to learn more about the different ways to finance your studies in Canada. You can also search for scholarships and bursaries on the websites of universities and other organizations.