Is Education Free in Canada? [Updated July 2023]

Canada is one of the most popular study abroad destinations that hosts nearly half a million international students,. Question, however, is how to study in Canada for free? If the answer to this question interests you, then you’ll bookmark this article! We explore ways here.

Canadian universities are known for their high quality of education and affordable tuition fees – that come with globally recognised degrees. Free education in Canada can be a reality for international students as there are multiple universities that offer fully-funded scholarships and special packages exclusively for international students.

So, in today’s article, we explore how to study in Canada for free as an international student.

Here’s what we’ll look at today

Is Education Free in Canada?

If you are wondering if there is a free university or free education in Canada, then here’s what you need to know – there aren’t any tuition-fee-free universities in Canada, but it is possible to get a full-tuition scholarship or a fully-funded scholarship and that’s pretty much the same as being tuition-free!

While some Scandinavian countries like Germany do have tuition fee exemptions for international students, Canadian universities do not provide a flat-out fee exemption. But, as stated above, there are multiple ways in which you can reduce the cost of studying in Canada, and that’s what we’ll look ta today.

How to study in Canada for free in 2023?

Canada will be the ideal destination for students who are looking for world-class educational institutions at an affordable price. The tuition fees at Canadian universities are much lower when compared to that of the universities in the United States or the United Kingdom. Did you know that it’s possible to study in Canada without the IELTS?

So if you are planning to study in Canada, you can be part of a top-tier educational institution at a cost that is cheaper compared to other universities in other global ed destinations. So, by considering all these options open for international students, the idea of studying at a Canadian university for free is not too far away from reality.

So, let us dive deep into this topic and understand step by step process of how to get a full scholarship and also how to prepare for these scholarships.

Step 1 – Be the best applicant

Universities in Canada are always on the lookout for the best applicants. Top Canadian universities always prefer students who have outstanding and excellent academic records. So, the basic and top-most priority of an international student should be to be the best at the academic aptitude and entrance tests.

Having an outstanding application will increase your chances of getting a scholarship that can fully fund your education. You should also ensure that the GPA and test scores you have obtained reflect your skills in different subjects you have studied, and the GPA can prove your ability to cope with the academic demands.

Please note: The information in the video is valid as of 2022

So, if you are looking to get a scholarship, don’t forget to be the best applicant by making sure that you are well prepared for the language test and other examinations. This will be one of the most important and first steps toward studying for free at a Canadian university.

Also, remember that you need a great cover letter that convinces the university that you are not only accomplished academically but also need the scholarship. It needs to reflect the fact that you can sustain an excellent academic reputation as well as meet the academic demands of the University.

Step 2- Prepare your application early

As said in the 1st step, a good application is a reflection of your academic skills, achievements and proficiency in each subject that you have studied. So it is highly recommended that you prepare your application at the earliest by investing all the required effort to furnish the best application possible.

By preparing your application early, you will have enough and more time to search and find the course of your interest and the right school to which you want to apply. Each school will have its own unique admission criteria, so by preparing your application early, you will also have time to know about the requirements of the respective University.

By preparing the application early, you can increase your chance of studying at a Canadian university for free, as this will give you more time to work on your SOP and all the other required documents along with searching for and finding the right scholarship.

As you have already applied and got admission at a preferred school much before any other student, you will have a better chance when it comes to looking for scholarships or other fellowships.

Step 3 -Apply for Scholarships from Universities in Canada

Applying for the right scholarship is your key to studying for free in Canada. There are Canadian universities that directly offer students scholarships if their academic performance is excellent.

University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship

The University of Calgary is one such University that offers a scholarship for international students, the scholarship is named “University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship”, which is for undergraduate students.

The basic criteria to be qualified for this scholarship is to have a GPA of 2.60 or more along with an excellent academic track record. This scholarship is renewable in the second, third, and fourth year, provided recipients achieve a GPA of 2.60 or more over a minimum of 24.00 units in the previous fall.

This Canadian University also provides a scholarship for master’s degree students to meet their financial needs. The Alberta innovates graduate student scholarship program provides the recipient with $26,000 for up to two years and the Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship, which values at $11,000.

The University of Winnipeg President’s Scholarship

The University of Winnipeg offers scholarships for international students under the banner of The University of Winnipeg President’s Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to international students entering any of the University’s divisions who meet the eligibility criteria and possesses leadership qualities. CAD 6400 is the allowed grant under this scholarship for an international student.

Carleton University scholarships

Carleton University offers scholarships for international students to meet their financial needs. The scholarships are mostly based on the entrance examination and the student’s academic performance. Popular ones include the One Riordon Scholarship and One Collins Prestige Scholarship, which cover the full tuition costs of the student.

All the international students who are admitted to the Carleton University whose admission average is at least 80% or above will be considered for the entrance award for international students, this particular grand will provide a scholarship of $4,000 annually, and this can be renewed according to the performance of the student up to three to four years.

President’s Scholars of Excellence Program by the University of Toronto

Another university that offers international students scholarships is the University of Toronto. The popular scholarships provided by this University are the National Scholarship Program, President’s Scholars of Excellence Program (PSEP), Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships for outstanding international students, and the University of Toronto Scholars Program.

The majority of the scholarships are on-admission scholarship funding is awarded automatically. The Lester B. Pearson international scholarship provides full coverage on tuition, books, incidental fees, and residence for the duration of 4-years of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto.

The University offers scholarships for graduate programs with certain university criteria. The basic criteria are to have a grade of A- or equivalent, transcripts of previous post-secondary institutions and also references.

Concordia University scholarship

Concordia University also offers scholarships for international students. The In-Course Bursary program is a program that provides financial support to undergraduate students who have been admitted to Concordia University. The program is also applicable to newly-admitted students who have transferred credits from another university. This is a partially funded fellowship with a variable amount.

Brock University Scholarships

Brock University offers the prestigious Brock University Scholarships for international students, and this is a public research university that provides scholarships for all programs. The basic eligibility criteria for getting this scholarship are to have an excellent academic track record and strong extracurricular involvement. This scholarship grant will provide the student CAD 1,02,457, which is one of the highest available scholarships for an international student.

York University scholarships

York University has several scholarship programs for international students and out of which, the most popular one is the International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction. The scholarship offers a grant of $35,000 in the first year and is renewable for four years, depending on the student’s performance and academic scores.

Minimum of 18 credits each Fall/Winter session) with a minimum cumulative grade point, an average of 7.80 is an important criterion for getting this scholarship.

University of British Columbia scholarships

University of British Columbia is another famous university in Canada that offers scholarships for international students based on their merit. The Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award and the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award are two popular in-house scholarships that help international students get financial assistance according to their financial needs.

University of Manitoba scholarships

University of Manitoba offers the University of Manitoba scholarships for postgraduate and Ph.D. students to fund their educational expenses. University of Manitoba spends around 2 million a year just on P.G. & Ph.D. scholarships, and this has been a really helpful scholarship for international students. This is a completely merit-based scholarship that provides CAD 20,000 for the student to meet their needs.

The financial assistance is for three or four years, depending on the duration of the undergraduate course. The value of the Award is proportional to your demonstrated financial need and sufficient to cover living expenses and tuition costs for your degree of study. Applicants should demonstrate a level of financial need that would otherwise prevent them from pursuing a University of British Columbia degree.

Arbour Foundation Scholarship by McGill University

McGill University offers the Arbour Foundation Scholarship for students pursuing master’s degrees with excellent academic achievements and a good GPA. This scholarship will provide a grant of $10,000. The other popular fellowship available for master’s students is the Weston Fellowship which awards $19,000, and this is renewable for once.

University of Waterloo Scholarships

The University of Waterloo offers the prestigious University of Waterloo Scholarships for international students. This scholarship is for U.G., P.G., & Ph.D. Programs as well, and it is a purely merit-based scholarship that has a grant value of $10,000 each for two students.

This scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding international students admitted to Year One of an undergraduate degree program. The basic criterion to be eligible for this scholarship will be a score of 90% or above.

Dalhousie University Scholarship

Dalhousie University is another scholarship that is exclusively for postgraduate and Ph.D. students who wish to be part of the University. The scholarship offers a grant of $30,000 and covers a monthly stipend, accommodation cost, fee waiver, and health insurance. So this is one really great scholarship to look out for if your aim is to study in Canada for free.

University of Saskatchewan Scholarships

  • 1. Guaranteed Entrance Scholarships You will automatically be considered for the University of Saskatchewan Canada Scholarships this is a Guaranteed Entrance Scholarship that you can obtain as you apply for admission to the particular university. These scholarships recognize your academic achievements and are awarded based on your admission average.
  • 2. Best and Brightest Entrance Scholarships Best and Brightest Entrance Scholarships are the University of Saskatchewan’s highest-valued, renewable entrance scholarships, and this particular scholarship is awarded based on academics, leadership, and contributions to school and community life.
  • 3. International student awards are specifically for international students and this is awarded purely based on academic achievements. International students will be considered automatically for these awards, which are based on academic achievement, upon admission. This scholarship will provide a grant value of $10,000.

Step 4 – Look out for affordable universities

If in case you have not got a scholarship that can fund your global ed journey or in case the scholarship doesn’t cover all the required expenses, there is a plan B made ready for you. Canada is a country that has many top-notch, affordable universities. So, you can always apply to an affordable Canadian university to achieve your academic goals if, in case, plan A of getting a fully-funded scholarship doesn’t work out well.

To pursue an undergraduate course in Canada, tuition fees will be between CAD 20,000 to CAD 30,000 yearly. The Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Regina, and Athabasca University are a few famous universities in Canada that offer affordable education for international students, and the tuition fee for these universities will range from CAD1,700 to CAD20,000 years.

University of British Columbia, McMaster University, The University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of Montreal are a few of the best Canadian universities, according to U.S. News and also according to the Q.S. World ranking. These universities are internationally recognised top schools with great quality of education with tuition rates that are significantly lower than their international counterparts.

The fee will depend on the preferred program, where humanities programs cost much less than science or medical science courses. When compared to top universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries, these Canadian universities offer degrees that are much easier on your wallet.

Step 5- Apply for Scholarships from your own government

The next main step toward studying for free in Canada can be by applying for a scholarship offered by your own government. Some countries offer financial aid for students who have a good academic track record and who wish to study abroad.

Apart from looking for scholarships offered by universities in Canada, students can also look at the financial aid offered by their own governments which will be much more accessible.

T.S. Ambedkar Overseas Vidya Nidhi Scholarship is one such scholarship that the Telangana state government provides in India. This is a scholarship program for candidates who are willing to study abroad and are seeking scholarships from the state government.

Step 6 – Apply for external scholarships

An external scholarship is an umbrella term used for the source of funding for students that comes from an external organisation or association outside of the University or the Canadian government. There are multiple funding agencies that work for the welfare of the students, and they offer international students with scholarships that will cover all their needs.

There are many private organisations around the globe that provide scholarships for international students with a good academic track record. The main aim of such organisations is to improve education across borders and to provide opportunities to deserving candidates who wish to take up their global ed journey at a prestigious university.

These kinds of scholarships are comparatively large in grant size and also easy to apply as the organisation has fewer eligibility criteria when compared to a Canadian government scholarship. The external funding that organisations offer can be used for study and research at various universities abroad or even for international work placements or unpaid internships.

Scotiabank International Partner Entrance Scholarships is one such scholarship provided by Scotiabank; this scholarship provides partial funding for students who wish to apply to the George Brown College of Applied Arts & Technology, this scholarship will offer a grant of CAD 6398 for international students.

Step 7 – Work while Studying

Working while studying will provide the students with a better sense of independence and maturity, this will also help in nurturing their soft skills and gaining valuable work experience at an early age and will help in making valuable connections and relationships with the industry professionals that they will be working with in the future as well.

Earning an income is another major reason why students look out for job opportunities while studying. This is an option that not all international students will have while studying, as not all universities allow students to work while studying.

But most universities allow the student to work for a stipulated number of hours while studying as this helps the students meet their daily needs as well as academic needs. The work can be either on-campus or off-campus, depending on the availability and also your choice of workplace.

But what you have to keep in mind is that working in Canada while studying is only allowed for the duration of your program, and also, working is not allowed before the start of your studies in a Canadian university. So by working for the stipulated number of hours, an international student will be able to make some money, and this can be used for paying the college fee.

When we look at the working hours for international students, they can work up to 20 hours per week during their studies, provided their college allows them to work, and the particular course that they have selected gives them the provision to work on-campus or off-campus. Forty hours per week during vacation is the allowed time of work for international students who are studying in Canada.

Students can earn approximately C$ 8 – C$ 10 per hour. Students can work full-time off campus during co-op terms and can earn approximately C$ 10 – C$ 15 per hour, amounting to C$ 400 to C$ 1,000 per month. This is one of the most popular options for students who are looking for how to study for free in Canada.

Bookkeeper, customer service assistant, cook, dog walker, bartender, Uber driver, office assistant, program facilitator, and sales assistant are some of the most popular part-time job options available in Canada for international students. These roles will help you earn a lot of money, and this can be used for your education.

Yorkville University offers job opportunities during the 3rd and 4th years at Yorkville University for the Bachelor of Business Administration students, and a student can earn up to CAD 10-22 (Rs 600-1,300) per hour, and the average in a month is around CAD 800-CAD 1760 (Rs 50,000 to 1,00,000) by taking up the job opportunity on campus. This opportunity is limited to the particular University and the degree program it offers in BBA.

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If you are still wondering “how can I study in Canada for free?” and need more guidance to kick start your global education in Canada get in touch with our experts who can make your dream come true. Affordable education in Canada for international students is just a touch away with the team TC Global.

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