Top 10 Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students

Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students

Top 10 Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students

Studying in Canada is a dream for countless international students, offering a world-class education, diverse cultural experiences, and a chance to live in a welcoming and friendly environment. However, the cost of attending a Canadian university can be daunting, especially for international students.

This is where choosing a cost-effective university becomes crucial. Through this write-up, we will explore the cheapest universities in Canada for international students, their benefits, and factors that contribute to affordability. So, buckle up as we explore the most affordable path toward your Canadian academic dreams.

Benefits of Studying in Canada

Quality Education

Canada boasts a world-class education system, ranking consistently among the top globally. Students benefit from small class sizes, personalized attention from professors, and access to state-of-the-art facilities.

Post-graduation Work Opportunities

Canada offers a unique advantage through its Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program. This program allows international graduates to gain valuable work experience in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. It presents opportunities to build a professional network, gain Canadian work experience, and pave the way for permanent residency.

Multicultural Experience

Canada is a vibrant tapestry of cultures from around the globe. As an international student, you will be immersed in a diverse and welcoming environment, interacting with people from various backgrounds and perspectives. It fosters cultural understanding, broadens your horizons, and enriches your personal and academic journey.

Safe and Welcoming Environment

Canada is consistently recognized as one of the world’s safest and most peaceful countries. It boasts a low crime rate and a strong emphasis on social justice and equality. According to the Canada Action Website, Canada ranks 11th on the global peach index.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a University

Factors to Consider When Choosing a University

Location and Lifestyle

Consider the following facts while choosing a location:

  • Climate: Do you prefer a warm or cold climate? Canada offers a variety of climates to choose from.
  • Urban vs. rural: Do you thrive in a bustling city environment or prefer a calmer, rural setting?
  • Proximity to amenities: Consider access to public transportation, shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
  • Cost of living: Research the cost of living in different cities across Canada.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are a major cost factor for international students. Research tuition fees for different programs and universities. Consider factors like:

  • Program fees: Do different programs within the same university have varying fees?
  • International student fees: Some universities charge additional fees for international students.
  • Financial aid options: Are scholarships, bursaries, or work-study programs available?

Available Programs

Ensure the university offers a program that aligns with your academic interests and career goals. Research factors like:

  • Program reputation: Is the program recognized and well-regarded in your field?
  • Faculty expertise: Are there professors with research interests that align with yours?
  • Course offerings: Does the program offer diverse courses to meet your needs?
  • Internship and research opportunities: Does the program provide opportunities for practical experience?

Scholarship Options

Explore scholarship opportunities offered by:

  • The university: Many universities offer scholarships specifically for international students.
  • Government agencies: Both Canadian and your home country’s government may offer scholarships.
  • External organizations: Private organizations often offer scholarships for specific programs or study areas.

Eligibility Requirements

Ensure you meet the university’s academic and language proficiency requirements. Research factors like:

  • GPA requirement: What is the minimum GPA required for admission?
  • Standardized test scores: Are TOEFL, IELTS, or other standardized tests required?
  • English language proficiency: How well do you need to perform on the English language test?
  • Additional requirements: Are there any other program-specific requirements?
Top 10 Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students

Top 10 Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students

1. University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba, located in Winnipeg, Canada, is the oldest university in Western Canada and stands within the QS World University Rankings 2024 range of 701-750. This institution is notable for its extensive research initiatives and offers more than 100 undergraduate and 80 graduate programs across various fields. It has a vibrant international community, with students from over 120 countries, and provides a dynamic learning environment supported by modern facilities.

Tuition fees for international students are approximately CAD 15,280–23,160 for undergraduate programs and CAD 11,500–21,700 for graduate programs. The university also offers entrance scholarships ranging from CAD 1,000 to CAD 7,500, aimed at students who demonstrate competitive academic credentials, standardized test scores, and English language proficiency​.

2. Memorial University of Newfoundland

Memorial University of Newfoundland, situated in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, offers a range of educational opportunities with over 100 undergraduate and 80 graduate programs across various fields. Established in 1925, it’s notable for its affordable tuition fees ranging from CAD 2,150 to CAD 11,460 for undergraduate programs and CAD 3,300 to CAD 14,400 for graduate studies.

The university supports its international student body, making up 20% of its population, with entrance scholarships between CAD 1,000 to CAD 5,000. Memorial is well-regarded for its research capabilities, featuring in QS World University Rankings 2024 within the 571-580 band. It’s also the largest university in Atlantic Canada and holds a strong commitment to internationalization and cultural sensitivity​.

3. University of Saskatchewan

The University of Saskatchewan (USask), located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, ranks between 601-650 in the QS World University Rankings for 2024. Known for its strong research focus, USask is particularly recognized in areas like water and food security, and infectious diseases. The university offers a diverse range of academic programs with over 200 undergraduate and 100 graduate programs across various fields. Tuition fees for international students vary, with undergraduate programs costing between CAD 4,110 and CAD 24,000, and graduate programs ranging from CAD 4,950 to CAD 16,000 approximately.

USask is home to a vibrant international student community from over 130 countries, providing a dynamic educational environment. International students can avail themselves of entrance scholarships, which range from CAD 1,000 to CAD 5,000, based on academic excellence and other competitive criteria like GPA and English proficiency. Additionally, the university offers robust support services to help international students adapt and thrive in their new environment​.

4. University of Alberta

The University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, Alberta, is a prominent institution known for its affordability among international students. It ranks 98th globally according to the QS World University Rankings for 2024. For undergraduate programs, tuition fees range from CAD 5,300 to CAD 15,000, and for graduate programs, they are approximately CAD 5,200 to CAD 16,600.

The university offers a broad range of over 200 undergraduate and 170 graduate programs across various fields. There are also numerous scholarship opportunities for new students, with entrance scholarships varying from CAD 1,000 to CAD 10,000. Eligibility for these scholarships is competitive and depends on a strong GPA, standardized test scores, which vary by program, and proficiency in English​.

5. University of Calgary

The University of Calgary, located in the vibrant city of Calgary, Alberta, is a leading choice for international students seeking affordable and high-quality education in Canada. The university offers a diverse range of over 150 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs. It’s recognized for its strong research output and has been ranked 274th in the QS World University Rankings for 2024.

Tuition fees vary from CAD 5,500 to CAD 19,000 for undergraduate programs, and from CAD 4,800 to CAD 16,000 for graduate programs, making it one of the more economical options in the region. Additionally, international students can apply for entrance scholarships that range between CAD 1,000 and CAD 10,000. Admissions are competitive, requiring a good GPA, relevant standardized test scores, and proficiency in English.

6. University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa, located in Ottawa, Ontario, is a prominent bilingual public research university. It is ranked 253rd in the QS World University Rankings for 2024 and offers a rich variety of programs with over 200 undergraduate and 100 graduate courses across multiple disciplines. Known for its large, friendly campus in the heart of downtown Ottawa, it provides a vibrant student life with advanced facilities and a robust support system for international students​.

Tuition fees for international students range from CAD 6,300 to CAD 14,600 for undergraduate programs, and from CAD 7,000 to CAD 15,000 for graduate studies. The university also offers entrance scholarships to international students, which can range from CAD 1,000 to CAD 5,000, depending on academic merit and financial need.

Admission is competitive, requiring a good GPA, relevant test scores, and proof of English language proficiency. The university actively supports international students through various scholarships and dedicated services to enhance their academic and social experience in Canada.

7. Brandon University

Brandon University, located in Brandon, Manitoba, is a public institution known for its affordable and competitive tuition rates for international students, ranging from CAD 14,000 to CAD 18,000 per year. The university offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in fields such as arts, business, education, science, and social sciences.

It provides a close-knit community with personalized interactions between students and professors, fostering an environment conducive to innovative teaching and intensive study. Scholarships and bursaries are available for international students, helping to further reduce the financial burden. To gain admission, international students must demonstrate a solid academic record and meet English language proficiency requirements.

8. Concordia University

Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, caters robustly to international students, providing a supportive and vibrant community environment. With QS World University Rankings placing it between 541 and 550 for 2024, Concordia offers an array of academic options with over 400 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs across disciplines such as engineering, business, arts, and sciences.

Tuition fees for international students range from CAD 15,776 to CAD 25,288 per year. The university is known for its extensive scholarship opportunities, including entrance, merit, and needs-based scholarships, catering to the diverse financial needs and academic merits of its students. Eligibility for these programs generally requires a high school diploma or equivalent, solid academic standing, and proficiency in English or French​.

9. University of Guelph

The University of Guelph, located in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, ranks between 571-580 in the QS World University Rankings for 2024. It offers a diverse range of programs, with over 180 undergraduate and 60 graduate programs across various disciplines including engineering, agriculture, science, arts, and humanities.

Tuition fees for international students range from CAD 18,764 to CAD 30,340 per year. The university is committed to supporting international students through numerous scholarship opportunities, including entrance, merit, and leadership scholarships. Admission criteria vary by program but generally require a high school diploma or equivalent, strong academic standing, and proficiency in English

10. Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University (SFU), situated in Burnaby, British Columbia, stands out among Canadian universities with low tuition fees for international students. Founded in 1965, it offers a comprehensive range of programs in fields such as business, engineering, and science. With tuition rates ranging from CAD$18,200 to CAD$27,500, SFU provides an affordable option for international students seeking quality education in Canada.

It supports its diverse student body through scholarships like the International Student Entrance Scholarship and the President’s Scholarship. The university’s commitment to global education is also evident in its QS World University Ranking for 2024, positioned at 409. This ranking underscores its reputation as a leading institution that attracts students worldwide.

The Comprehensive List of the Top Cheapest Universities in Canada

Here is the table displaying the top cheapest universities in Canada:

UniversityLocationTuition (CAD)Degree Programs
University of Northern British ColumbiaBritish Columbia$15,303 (Master’s)Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design
MacEwan UniversityAlberta$16,200BSc Applied Statistics, BSc Computer Science, B.Social Work
University of ManitobaManitoba$16,300B. Agroecology, B. Interdisciplinary Health
University Canada WestBritish Columbia$17,000MBA
Crandall UniversityNew Brunswick$17,000Master of Management
University of Prince Edward IslandPrince Edward Island$17,000B Analytics, B. Applied Communication, Leadership and Culture
Cape Breton UniversityNova Scotia$17,200B. Arts and Science in Environment, B. Health Sciences (Public Health), Engineering Technology, Chemistry
University of ReginaSaskatchewan$18,000B. Ideation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, B. Education, B. Software Systems Development
Mount Allison UniversityNew Brunswick$18,500B. Geocomputing, B. Aviation, B. Museum & Curatorial Studies
Acadia UniversityNova Scotia$18,500B. Business Administration, B. Computer Science, B. Biology
University of SaskatchewanSaskatchewan$19,000B. Biomedical Sciences, B. Interactive Systems Design, B. Nursing
University of WinnipegManitoba$19,200B. Theatre &Film, B. Statistics, B. Neuroscience
University of LethbridgeAlberta$19,300BSc Remote Sensing, Dual BFA New Media & B. Management, BSc Biochemistry
Dalhousie UniversityNova Scotia$20,600B. Applied Computer Science, B. Community Design, B. International Food Business
University of MontrealQuebec$25,568 (Bachelor’s), $17,192 – $19,390 (Graduate)Various Bachelor’s and Graduate Programs
McGill UniversityQuebec$19,886 – $31,500 (Bachelor’s), $17,193 – $27,011 (Graduate)Various Bachelor’s and Graduate Programs
McMaster UniversityOntario$36,652 – $40,960 (Bachelor’s), $6,307 – $17,096 (Graduate)Various Bachelor’s and Graduate Programs
University of British ColumbiaBritish Columbia$38,389 – $42,803 (Bachelor’s), $9,314 (Graduate)Various Bachelor’s and Graduate Programs
University of TorontoOntario$41,540 – $61,350 (Bachelor’s), $6,210 – $43,990 (Graduate)Various Bachelor’s and Graduate Programs
University of the PeopleOnlineTuition-FreeAssociate, Bachelor, Master (Business Administration, Education, Computer Science, and Health Science)
Brandon UniversityManitoba$7,203BA, BBA, BEd, BFA, BM, BN, BSc
Université de Saint-BonifaceManitoba$10,570 – $16,850Bachelor’s Degrees in Arts, Social Work, Translation, Science, Nursing, Business, and Education
Canadian Mennonite UniversityManitoba$10,003Three- and four-year BA, BSc, BBA, and Master’s Programs
Memorial University of NewfoundlandNewfoundland$20,000More than 100 programs for Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificates
Memorial University of NewfoundlandNewfoundland$6,390 (Master’s)Large variety of Master’s and Doctorate programs both in person and online
University of Northern British ColumbiaBritish Columbia$7,494 (Master’s)MBA, MSc, MEd, MEng, MScN, MSW, Graduate Certificates, and Doctorate programs
University of CalgaryAlberta$4,319Offers course-based and research-based Master’s and Doctorate degrees in a variety of subjects
Simon Fraser UniversityBritish Columbia$6,075Variety of graduate programs in Applied Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Communication, Art & Technology, Education, Environment, Health Sciences, and Science
University of SaskatchewanSaskatchewan$3,000 – $5,000Over 80 Master’s and Doctorate degrees. Specializing in research and medical fields
Tips for International Students

Tips for International Students

Navigating Financial Landscapes

  • Craft a Comprehensive Budget: As an international student, financial planning is crucial for managing expenses and ensuring financial stability throughout your academic journey. Begin by creating a detailed budget that outlines your anticipated income and expenses. It includes tuition fees, accommodation costs, meals, transportation, utilities, textbooks, and other miscellaneous expenses.
  • Explore Funding Options: To reduce the financial burden of studying abroad, explore various funding options available to international students. Your chosen university, government agencies, and private organizations offer research scholarships. Scholarships can significantly alleviate tuition costs and support your living expenses.
  • Transportation Planning: Transportation costs can form a significant portion of your overall expenses. Opt for public transportation as your primary mode of travel, as it is often the most affordable and convenient option. Consider cycling or walking for shorter distances, especially during pleasant weather. Carpooling with fellow students or roommates can also reduce transportation costs and promote a sense of community.

Scholarship Strategies

  • Start Early and Plan Effectively: The scholarship application process can be competitive, so starting your search early is essential. Research scholarships that align with your academic interests, extracurricular involvement, and financial needs. Carefully review eligibility criteria, deadlines, and required supporting documents.
  • Seek Guidance and Support: Don’t hesitate to seek guidance and support from your university’s international student office. They can provide insights into scholarship opportunities, application strategies, and deadlines. Attend scholarship workshops from your university or community organizations to gain valuable tips and learn from experienced scholarship recipients.
  • Craft a Compelling Application: Your scholarship application should showcase your academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, leadership qualities, and personal strengths. Create your application to each scholarship, highlighting how your experiences and aspirations align with the scholarship’s objectives. Demonstrate your passion for your chosen field of study and articulate your future goals clearly.

Work Opportunities While Studying

  • Obtain a Valid Work Permit: To work while studying in Canada legally, you must obtain a valid work permit. If you have a Study Permit, you can apply for a co-op work authorization, which allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular semesters and full-time during designated co-op work periods.
  • Explore On-Campus Opportunities: Your university’s career centre is a valuable resource for finding on-campus employment opportunities. Check their job postings regularly and attend career fairs or workshops the career centre organizes. On-campus jobs offer flexibility that can easily balance your academic commitments.

Cost-Effective Living Arrangements

  • Consider On-Campus Housing: On-campus housing offers several advantages for international students, including convenience, security, and access to campus amenities. Explore various on-campus housing options, such as dormitories, apartments, and suites. Compare different housing options based on location, amenities, and pricing.
  • Explore Homestays or Shared Accommodations: Homestays provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Canadian culture and experience family life firsthand. Research homestay programs offered by reputable organizations or connect with potential homestay families directly. Carefully consider location, family dynamics, and shared interests before deciding.
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the cheapest universities in Canada for postgraduate international students?

Some of the cheapest universities in Canada include the University of Manitoba, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Saskatchewan, University of Calgary, and Concordia University.

Can you suggest the cheapest university in Canada for international graduate students?

The cheapest university in Canada for international graduate students depends on the specific program of study. However, the University of Manitoba is generally considered one of the most affordable options for graduate study.

Which is the cheapest medical university in Canada for international students?

The cost of medical school varies significantly from university to university. However, the University of Manitoba is considered one of Canada’s cheapest medical schools for international students.

Are there any cheapest public universities in Canada for international students?

Yes, many public universities in Canada are affordable for international students. The cheapest public universities in Canada for international students include Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Northern British Columbia, and Brandon University, with tuition fees ranging significantly but starting as low as around CAD 3,200 to 7,170 for undergraduate programs.

Where can I find the cheapest universities in Canada for international students pursuing an MBA?

Some cheapest universities in Canada for MBAs include Concordia University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Guelph, and Simon Fraser University.

What are the options for the cheapest universities in Canada for international undergraduate students?

There are many affordable options for international undergraduate students in Canada. For example, the University of Manitoba, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Calgary.

Which are the cheapest universities in Toronto, Canada, for international students?

Toronto is home to several renowned universities, but some of the most affordable options for international students include Ryerson University, York University, University of Toronto Mississauga, Centennial College, and George Brown College.

Do you know of the cheapest university in Montreal, Canada, for international students?

Concordia University is generally considered the cheapest university for international students in Montreal, Canada.

Conclusion

Canada’s commitment to providing affordable education extends beyond undergraduate and postgraduate programs. But as you embark on this journey of selecting your ideal cheapest university in Canada for international students, your decision should be guided by careful consideration of your academic aspirations, financial constraints, and personal preferences.

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