10 Best Cheapest Colleges in Canada for International Students in 2024

Ever wondered, what are the cheapest colleges in Canada? We look at these today.

When it comes to higher education, Canada is a superb choice as it has some of the best universities and colleges in the world. But, the cost of studying abroad can be a deterrent for many.

So, how do we make our international education journey more affordable? One important factor is knowing which colleges are more affordable. We look at the list of the cheapest universities in Canada.

There are, of course, other countries too that offer affordable education. Australia, for instance has some cheap universities, but today we are looking at Canada.

Some of the cheapest universities/ colleges in Canada are…

While the above is a list of the top ten, there are more colleges in Canada that are publicly funded and offer great education, like Seneca College. The other great college to look at is Fanshawe College, which is also in Ontario. Another great place to study in Ontario is the University of Waterloo.

What are the cheapest colleges in Canada for International Students?

Your journey as an international student cannot hit a dead end because of the expenses involved. You can always choose to continue your dreams in any of the cheap universities, while still getting the benefit of the Canadian education system. Here are some of the top affordable colleges if you are choosing Canada as your study destination.

S.No University Location Fees in CAD
1 University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta ~ CA $27,000 for UG
2 University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario ~ $35,000 for UG
$15,000 – $30,000 for PG
3 University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba $17,800 – $30,000
4 University of Sasketchawan Saskatoon, Sasketchawan $19,895 to $40,060
5 Memorial University of Newfoundland St John’s, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador ~ $21,000
6 Bow Valley College Calgary, Alberta $18,000 – $35,000
7 Humber College Toronto, Ontario $12,000 – $22,000
8 Algonquin College Ottawa, Ontario $16,000 – $22,000
9 Northern Lights College Dawson Creek, BC $10,900 – $18,556
10 Conestoga College Kitchener, Ontario $10,500 – $22,000

Note: These figures give you the average/ range of tuition fees, based on the lowest and highest figures.

1. University of Calgary

Source: UCalgary

The University of Calgary is a place that cannot be described absolutely as “cheap”. Then why is it on this list?

Because, of the list of top universities in Canada, UCalgary is one of the cheapest. It also goes without saying that it is one of the best, considering it is in the top ten. Compared to the University of Toronto, where the average tuition fee is between CA $41,540 – $61,350 or the University of British Columbia which costs between CA $34,276 – $41,156, UCalgary is far cheaper at CA $24,408.

UCalgary, located in the province of Alberta, has 14 faculties and 85 research institutes and centers. Every year, about 33,000 students study here. It is also the alma mater of James Gosling (lead designer of the Java programming language), Garrett Camp (co-founder of Uber), Robert Thirsk (astronaut) and Chip Wilson (founder of Lululemon Inc).

Why is it good to study here?

UCalgary stands in 182nd place among all the universities in the world, according to QS rankings, and in the top-ten list in Canada. It is known for its quality education,work-integrated learning and has a 94% employment rate after graduation. Be it their School of Arts or the Haskayne School of Business (also read: MBA in Canada), UCalgary has a high student satisfaction rate. With a number of student support activities and a diverse student community, UCalgary is a great place to upgrade your higher education experience.

Fees & Scholarship options

The average undergraduate tuition fee is around CA $27,000, while the graduate average tuition fee ranges between CA $8,243 and $21,597.

  • The university also has scholarship options for international students.
  • University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship: Two awards of CA $20,000 given to international students entering their first year
  • CIBC International Entrance Scholarship: One award of CA $10,000 to an incoming student
  • The University of Calgary Award for International Student Athletes

You can check out the detailed list of awards and scholarships here.


If you are looking for enrollment at the undergraduate level, then these are the entry requirements:

  • Standard 12 board examination with certain required courses for your degree program. These required courses vary depending on the major of your choice. Any equivalent International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP) courses or previously completed SAT2 subject tests are accepted.
  • Successful completion of at least three years of formal, full-time study in English at a secondary school in an exempt country (Indian students are exempt) or is accredited to offer Canadian, American or British curricula.
  • Or a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 86 or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5

Courses offered & admission process

B.A., B.Sc., M.A., M.Sc., MBA, M. Eng., and Ph.D. programs are offered at the University of Calgary. The university offers 250 programs that can be combined with your choice, starting from Accounting, all the way to Zoology.

Once you select the course of your choice and ensure that the admission requirements are met, you make an account on the UCalgary website. You ensure that you have all transcripts in hand, ready to upload. You will also have to pay an application fee of CA $145, as an international student.

2. University of Guelph

Source: UGuelph

A public research university located in Guelph, Ontario, the University of Guelph was established in 1964. It consists of seven main faculties under which the courses are offered. The university motto is Rerum cognoscere causas which means “to learn the reasons of realities”. About 30,000 students study at this university.

Why is it good to study here?

Ranked 486 worldwide in QS Rankings, the University of Guelph finds its place in the top 50 research universities in Canada. They are particularly known for their veterinary and agricultural sciences programs. UGuelph ranks number 5 worldwide when it comes to veterinary sciences. Moreover, they offer over 100 different graduate programs and create a personalized learning atmosphere.

Fees & Scholarship options

The average total fees (winter and fall semesters) of a BSc or a BA program is around CA $35,000. The graduate fee ranges from CA $15,000 (typical MA/MSc programs) to CA $30,000 (for a Master’s in Data Science or Cybersecurity).

Despite the fees, the number of scholarships is what makes the University of Guelph one of the cheapest colleges for international students. In 2021-22, over 8,100 students received funding, totalling about CA $27.2 million.

  • The Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino President’s Scholarship
  • Academic Leadership Entrance Scholarships
  • International Entrance Scholarships
  • Quinn Memorial Scholarships
  • Hardy International Student Scholarship.

Read about these scholarships and their requirements here.


If you are applying for a bachelor’s degree

  • You must have completed class 12 from any of the recognized boards with an average score of 80%.
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 with no band under 6/ TOEFL iBT score of 89/ CAEL score of 70/ PTE score 60/ Cambridge English score of 176 with no band less than 160/ DuoLingo English score of 100.

If you are applying for a master’s degree

  • Successful completion of an undergraduate degree/ baccalaureate, in an honors program or the equivalent, from a recognized university with a minimum B- average (last two years of full-time equivalent study)
  • Proof of English language proficiency is the same as the undergraduate degree, however, DuoLingo is not accepted at the Master’s level.

It is always better to check the department or the specific program website to ensure there are no other specific requirements for admission.

Courses offered & admission process

It offers 94 undergraduate degrees, 48 graduate and doctoral programs, and 6 associate degrees in many different disciplines. Their veterinary science and agriculture programs are world-renowned. You can access the entire list of programs here.

Once you have selected your program and verified the requirements, you must submit a completed application form along with a non-refundable application fee of CA $90. When your application is processed, you will be given the information to access the student portal. All updates will be reflected there.

3. University of Manitoba

Source: University of Manitoba

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the University of Manitoba was founded in 1877, making it the first university in Western Canada. Known for its research, some of the university’s contributions are the discovery of a treatment for and control of Rh hemolytic disease and the genetic research that produced canola, the world’s third-largest edible oil crop. The university’s motto is “Floreat” which is Latin for “flourish” or “prosper”. There are currently over 30,000 students attending the University of Manitoba. The University de Saint Boniface is a French university affiliated to the University of Manitoba.

Why is it good to study here?

Ranked 651-700 worldwide by QS Rankings, this school provides top-notch teaching, learning, and research opportunities in Manitoba.  The university emphasizes values such as academic freedom, accountability, collegiality, equity and inclusion, excellence, innovation, integrity, respect, and sustainability. Updated curricula, innovative pedagogies, and high employment rates are just some of the reasons to consider this university.

Fees & Scholarship options

Yearly tuition fee for an undergraduate student ranges from CA $17,800 to CA $30,000, making it one of the more affordable universities in Canada.

The university has entrance scholarships, other funding, and bursaries for international students. They are instituted to reward academic excellence. The funding amount is dynamic and is calculated based on your performance in high school or within the university. Get a detailed account of Manitoba scholarships here.


For an undergraduate application

  • Completed Class 12 (higher secondary certificate)
  • Score a minimum of 6.5 in TOEFL with no band less than 6.0/ 85 in TOEFL iBT/ 180 in Cambridge English Assessment / 58 in Pearson Test

For a master’s program

  • Completed a bachelor’s program from a recognized university with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • English language proficiency, as stipulated by the respective departments.

Courses offered & admission process

Offering over 100 academic programs, the University of Manitoba is a full-fledged public research university. You can choose a program of your liking, here.

There is an application fee of CA $120 for bachelor’s degree applications and of CA $100 for graduate applications. Once you have chosen the program, you submit a complete application form along with the necessary transcripts. You can check the status of your application on the online student portal.

4. University of Sasketchawan

Source: USask

Located in the city of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, USask is another public research university that has been in existence since 1907.  A member of the U15 group of Canadian research universities, it began as an agricultural college and grew to be one of the more renowned yet low-fee universities in Canada. USask is the home to the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, one of the largest and most innovative investments in Canadian science.

Why is it good to study here?

Ranked 473rd in the world by QS Rankings, the university provides practical hands-on experience through internships and co-op programs during the course of the study. As a relatively smaller university, it provides high student support. It is also the alma mater of John Diefenbaker, the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, Henry Taube, winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and William McIntyre, former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Fees & Scholarship options

For international students, the average tuition fee ranges from CA $19,895 to $40,060 (School of business administration). Courses like Law or Nursing are priced higher, between CA $40,000 to $55,000.

The following are the scholarship options for international students

  • University of Saskatchewan International Excellence Awards
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Excellence Awards
  • USask Bridging Scholarship Awards
  • Canadian Curriculum Schools Awards
  • Council of International School Awards
  • Maple Leaf International School Awards

Read more about them, here.


For an undergraduate degree:

  • Completed class 12 with the required courses
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL score of 86

For a master’s program

  • Four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL score of 86

Courses offered & admission process

The university offers over 200 programs across disciplines, ranging from accounting, aboriginal studies, biochemistry and computer science all the way to women’s studies at the bachelor’s master’s, and doctoral levels. You can access the entire list here. You can apply for any of them, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, with an application fee of CA $90.

5. Memorial University of Newfoundland

Source: MUN

Memorial University of Newfoundland or MUN was founded in 1925 as a living memorial to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who died in the First World War. It is a public university with its main campus located in St John’s with additional campuses in Corner Brook, Saint Pierre, and Harlow. The motto of this Canadian college in Latin is Provehito in Altum, which when translated reads as ‘Launch forth into the deep’.

Why is it good to study here?

Ranked 641-650 in QS World University Rankings for 2024, this university offers a number of unique programs to over 19,000 students from 115 countries. MUN offers certificate, diploma, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses across five campuses and online. Due to its location in Atlantic Canada, this university is one of the top research universities for Ocean studies, Marine Engineering, and Naval engineering.

Fees & Scholarship options

The average tuition fee for an international student is CA $21,000. However, you can gain diplomas and certificates at much more affordable rates, making it one of the low fee colleges in Canada . Get a detailed picture of other expenses and incidentals here.

Their international scholarship options are:

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland International Entrance Scholarship
  • IUGS Entrance Scholarship for Undergraduate Students
  • Fortis Inc. – H. Stanley Marshall Scholarship
  • Killam American Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Don and Mona Dooley (OLOF) Thailand Scholarship
  • Shona Perry-Maidment Entrance Award


For undergraduate applications

  • Completed Class 12 from any of the recognized boards with required subjects (English, Maths, Science, Social Studies/ Modern Classical Language, and an elective)
  • You must have scored a minimum of 60 in CAEL / 115 in DuoLingo English Test / 6.5 in IELTS / 79 in TOEFL iBT / 58 in the Pearson Test

Courses offered & admission process

This Canadian university has over 100 undergraduate programs across Newfoundland and Labrador, abroad, and online. You can access the entire list here.

On paying a non-refundable application fee of CA $120, you can apply for any of the courses. Keep all the transcripts and other requirements handy while filling out your application.

6. Bow Valley College

Source: Bow Valley College

Established in 1965 as a community institution, the main campus of Bow Valley College is located in downtown Calgary, Alberta. The branch campuses are Airdrie, Banff, Canmore, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks, and Strathmore. With a student population of 17,000, this college is one of the more affordable colleges in Canada.

Why is it good to study here?

Ranked 101 of the top colleges in Canada by Webometrics, applied research projects are one of the strong points of this school. Competency-based education is the mantra of Bow Valley. Prospective employers play a major role in building these competencies so that a graduate from Bow Valley College is set to meet industry standards upon graduation.

Fees & Scholarship options

The fee ranges from CA $18,000 to CA $35,000 for diploma and certificate courses.

The college offers both entrance and in-course scholarships to international students. In addition, the Arts diploma program students (2-year course) are also eligible for the CEA Diploma Scholarship. For more details on Bow Valley Scholarships, follow this link.


The academic requirements vary with each program. However, when it comes to language proficiency, a minimum score of 6.0 in IELTS or 83 in TOEFL iBT or its equivalent is what is expected.

Courses offered & admission process

Over a hundred courses are offered by the seven specialized schools of Bow Valley College.

  • The Chiu School of Business
  • The School of Continuing Learning (professional development, continuing education system and open studies courses)
  • The School of Community Studies
  • The School of Technology
  • The School of Foundational Learning
  • The School of Global Access
  • The School of Health and Wellness

7. Humber College

Source: Humber College

Located in central Toronto, the official name of Humber College is the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Founded in 1967, it has two main campuses: the Humber North campus and the Lakeshore campus.

Why is it good to study here?

The college is popular among international students for the opportunities it provides. This college has over 150 programs – bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificate courses, postgraduate certificate courses, and apprenticeship programs in over 40 fields of study. Their pathway programs are particularly popular. These programs guide you into a specialized degree with a definitive career path. The skill development opportunities here are practically endless.

Fees & Scholarship options

The annual fees for international students range from CA $12,000 to $22,000, depending on the course.
Numerous scholarship options are available

  • Humber Entrance Scholarships
  • Bachelor’s degree Scholarships
  • Awards for EAP Graduates (English for Academic Purposes)
  • Flywire Charitable Foundation Scholarships


Class 12 exams (ICSE/ CBSE or State Board) with a minimum score of 70%.
IELTS score of 6.0 or above or a TOEFL score of 90 or above in the iBT.

Courses offered & admission process

The college has over 100 programs to choose from. You can compare programs and access the entire list here. However, some of the more popular courses are:

  • B.E/ B.Tech
  • A graduate certificate in Business Administration
  • Arts and Media Design
  • Nursing courses
  • Pharmaceutical Management course
  • Hospitality and Travel courses

As one of the top colleges providing diplomas, Humber usually gets more applications than the seats available. So, you first need to pick your program and see the availability. Then, you submit the completed application form with the necessary transcripts. International applicants may be asked to submit an ICAS or WES evaluation to check eligibility. Depending on the program, you might also be asked to submit a statement of purpose, a portfolio, letters of reference and so on.

8. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology

Source: Algonquin College

Established in 1967, the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public college in Ottawa. It is a member of Polytechnics Canada and provides work-centric post-secondary education.

Why is it good to study here?

Algonquin College is one of Canada’s largest colleges. The student-oriented atmosphere and multicultural ethos make for an exceptional learning atmosphere. The college is known for its diverse areas of studies and application-oriented on-campus training. The college offers over 200 bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, postgraduate diplomas, and certificate programs. The Algonquin varsity teams have also made a name for themselves by competing in six sports on the provincial level within the OCAA.

Fees & Scholarship Options

For an international student, the fee (tuition + health insurance + student services) ranges from CA $16,000 to CA $22,000.

Here are some of the scholarship options for international students

  • Arnold Smith Royal Commonwealth Society Scholarship- Ottawa Chapter
  • David Phillipe Duguay Scholarship for Academic Achievement
  • Gary Neville Memorial Scholarship
  • guard.me International Student Scholarship
  • Out of this World Scholarship
  • Paramedic Scholarship of Excellence
  • Revera Living Scholarship


For a certificate or a diploma program:

  • Class 12 certificate with a minimum percentage of 60%.
  • IELTS with a minimum score of 6.0

For a Bachelor’s Degree:

  • Class 12 certificate with a minimum mark overall 65% and min 60% min. in required program subjects
  • Academic IELTS with an overall minimum score of 6.5 (with no single test score below 6.0)

For a Post Graduate Certificate program:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 55% or higher
  • Academic IELTS with an overall minimum score of 6.5 (with no single test score below 6.0)

Courses offered and Admission Process

There are 155 diploma/ certificate courses, 18 apprenticeship programs, 40 co-op programs, 6 collaborative degree programs, and 6 bachelor’s degree programs. Here’s an A-Z list of all programs offered by Algonquin College.

With a fairly high acceptance rate, Algonquin College has a simple admission process. Once the completed application along with the application fee of CA $110 is submitted, the college responds within 8 weeks of your status. Once you accept their conditional offer, you can begin your student visa application.

9. Northern Lights College

Source: Dawson Creek

Why is it good to study here?

With its affordable tuition and cost of living, Northern Lights College is one of the most reputed colleges in British Columbia. It gives you the added advantage of applied practical college learning and the chance to apply for a PGWP (Postgraduate Work Permit) on completion of its course. Its campuses are also strategically located in places with dynamic local labour markets. It becomes easier for skilled workers to find employment within three months of completion of the course.


The tuition fee for a year ranges from CA $10,900 to CA $18,556, depending on the course.

The college offers both general and program-specific awards, which can be looked into here.


  • High school graduation
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.0 for bachelor’s level programs and 6.5 for master’s level.

Courses offered & admission process

Here is a list of all programs at NLC. Popular courses include

  • Business Management
  • Apprenticeships and Trades
  • Teacher Training
  • Applied Business Technology
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
  • Workforce Training
  • Clean Energy Technology like Wind Turbine Maintenance,
  • Oil and Gas Training
  • Early Childhood Education

10. Conestoga College

Source: Conestoga

Another of the top colleges in the Ontario province, Conestoga is known for its courses in polytechnics.

Why is it good to study here?

Conestoga College provides opportunities for students to participate in applied research. You get to work with real-world industry clients and develop solutions for them. This keeps you updated on the latest needs of the industry and shapes your career accordingly. The school also has over 300 programs, giving you a wide variety to choose from.


For international students, the tuition fee is about CA $10,500 to CA $22,000 per annum. This is a considerably low tuition fee when compared to other Canadian colleges.

A student at Conestoga can be eligible for either an international or a regional scholarship. They are awarded based on merit. There is also the Narhari Sharma Memorial Award for international students. Get the full details of the scholarships here.


Each program has a different academic requirement to qualify for admission. However, a basic minimum of high school education is necessary. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 88 is also required to be eligible.

Courses offered and Admission Process

To go through the entire list of programs, click here. Some of the most sought-after programs are

  • Applied Computer Science & Information Technology
  • Business (BBA)
  • Community Services
  • Creative Industries
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Health Sciences
  • Hospitality & Culinary Arts

A few more Canada colleges for international students

As we have mentioned in some of our earlier articles, the labels “university” and “college” cannot be used interchangeably when it comes to Canadian higher education. A university is more academic and research oriented, while a college in Canada typically offers vocational or practical oriented programmes. Another important distinction is that the scope of degrees that a university can offer is much greater than what a college does. A college typically awards diplomas, graduate diplomas, certificates and a few undergraduate (bachelor’s) degrees.

In Canada, colleges are generally more affordable than universities. You can gain a diploma or a bachelor’s degree for anywhere typically between CA $12,000 and $30,000 (per year) in a college, depending on your specialisation. That said, here are a few more colleges, classified based on their location, to consider.

Ontario Colleges:

  • Fanshawe College
  • Seneca College
  • George Brown College
  • Durham College
  • Centennial College and
  • Algonquin College

British Columbia Colleges:

  • Langara College
  • Camosun College
  • Douglas College
  • Okanagan College
  • Vancouver Community College
  • College of New Caledonia and
  • Selkirk College
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Northern British Columbia

Alberta Colleges:

  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Athabasca University and
  • Lethbridge College
  • University of Alberta

Quebec Colleges:

  • Dawson College
  • LaSalle College
  • Vanier College
  • Bishop’s University and
  • Université Laval

Saskatchewan Colleges:

  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • Great Plains College and
  • Campion College

Manitoba Colleges:

  • University of Winnipeg and
  • Manitoba Institutes of Trades and Technology
  • Brandon University
  • Canadian Mennonite University

Nova Scotia Colleges:

  • Acadia University
  • Mount Saint Vincent University and
  • St Mary’s University

Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • College of the North Atlantic

New Brunswick Colleges:

  • New Brunswick Community College
  • Mount Allison University and
  • University of New Brunswick

Canada is a great option for studying abroad. You should do your research before applying to make sure its the right fit for you. It’s a good idea to compare it to other destinations to understand the differences. If you want to know more, you should look at our Canada versus the US piece, or if you’re thinking of closer home, you can read our piece on UK and Canada comparison to know more.

Let’s get you into top courses with no stress

While becoming an international student is very thrilling, the prep and paperwork of it all can get overwhelming. The easiest way to reduce your stress is to sign up with TC Global.

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Our platform enables students to study anywhere in the world in just a few steps. From search and discovery and finding the right course fit for you, to applications, visas and departure – we see you through it all.

To move forward with us, download our app or visit tcglobal.com and sign in to create an account on our student platform and onboard with us in quick, easy steps.! 🚀

Then simply set up a visit Calendly.com/tcglobal to pick a Relationships Team closest to you and choose a slot to meet with a Relationship Member to know more about the cheapest colleges in Canada. No matter where in the world you are located you can access our platform. We also have offices in several parts of India – from Delhi and Pune, to Mumbai and Kochi. If you are anywhere in Kerala, for instance, our Kochi center will be great for you. You can also explore the best study abroad consultants in Kerala. Our platform, however, knows no geographical boundaries – you can access it from anywhere and start your journey!

Let’s shape your future together.

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