Cheap Study in Canada for International Students – Immigroup

Are you thinking of how to pay for your university studies as an international student in Canada? The fact is tuition at a Canadian post-secondary institution is not cheap. It might be somewhat less than at comparable universities or colleges in the USA or the UK, but not that much cheaper if you’re thinking of a top-flight university like UBC or University of Toronto.

That’s because as an international student, you pay around 3 times the tuition that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident pays. That’s before cost of living expenses. That might not seem fair, but Canada’s universities have banded together to create a business that pulls in $22 billion in Canadian dollars a year.

And it’s true that the quality of education you receive as well as the cultural advantages of getting to know the country and improving your English (or French) language skills make the offer an attractive one for students from around the world. And that’s not to mention that you may very well be able to work part-time and obtain a graduate work permit if you manage to get a job in your field of study.

But there is a way to help meet those tuition costs: scholarships, bursaries, and awards geared towards international students. That’s the good news.

The not so good news is that there are not nearly as many scholarships in Canada as in the USA given that tuition costs have not been much of an issue in Canada until recent years. So Canada hasn’t built up as much of a scholarship infrastructure as you might find south of the border in America.

But there are scholarships available. Let’s see what a few of the options an international student has when seeking financial help for the cost of their studies are.

U of T by Nat / CC BY-SA (

The University of Toronto by Nat / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Government-funded Scholarships:

EduCanada is a government department managed by Global Affairs Canada that oversees scholarships of various kinds including those for international students. The scholarships are often grouped by geography, with certain types of scholarships targeted at students from different regions of the globe.


Study in Canada Scholarships:

Study in Canada offers academic scholarships for up to 2 years of study that leads to a diploma, a post-secondary or post-graduate certificate, or a master’s degree. Eligible students must:

  • Be a citizen of one of the following countries: Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Comoros, Djibouti, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Liberia, Mauritania, Micronesia, Palau, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Vanuatu.
  • Not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residency or have an application for permanent residency.
  • Apply and be admitted to a full-time academic program at a Canadian post-secondary institution.
  • Indicate their interest in the Study in Canada Scholarship when applying to the Canadian post-secondary institution.
  • Be linguistically competent in English and/or French to enable them to study at the Canadian university level.
  • Be a citizen of one of the following countries: Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Comoros, Djibouti, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Liberia, Mauritania, Micronesia, Palau, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Vanuatu.
  • Not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residency or have an application for permanent residency.
  • Apply and be admitted to a full-time academic program at a Canadian post-secondary institution.
  • Indicate their interest in the Study in Canada Scholarship when applying to the Canadian post-secondary institution.
  • Be linguistically competent in English and/or French to enable them to study at the Canadian university level.

The Canadian post-secondary institution must:

  • Apply on behalf of the student;
  • be on the designated institutions list;
  • enter into a binding agreement with the recipient (of the scholarship) over disbursement of funds and expenses to be covered which can include:
    • visa and/or work/study permit fees
    • travel expenses to give biometrics
    • economy-class airfare
    • health insurance costs
    • tuition and other mandatory school fees
    • living expenses
    • public transportation
    • books and supplies;
  • ensure recipient has health insurance plan;
  • provide reports on recipient’s progress.

Recipients of the scholarship must:

  • engage in full-time studies or research;
  • maintain good academic standing;
  • may not simultaneously hold any other scholarship funded by the government of Canada.

The scholarship amounts are:

  • up to CAD$60,000 for 1 academic year (duration: min 8 months; max 12 months);
  • up to CAD$120,000 for 2 academic years (duration: max 24 months).

Canada – ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges (SEED):

SEED provides students from ASEAN nations with short-term exchange opportunities for study or research at Canadian post-secondary institutions. The overall purpose of SEED is to find candidates who will contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, including gender equity and action to combat climate change.  To be eligible, candidates must:

  • Be citizens of ASEAN member states: Brunei, Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos (Lao PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam.
  • Not be Canadian citizens or permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence.
  • Not be already enrolled in a degree or diploma program at a Canadian post-secondary institution.
  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary institution in an ASEAN country.
  • Take the responsibility themselves for applying for a work permit (research) or study permit (course work).
  • Choose a field of study or research in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by submitting a 1-page letter of intent showing how their chosen field of research contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The duration and amount of the SEED exchanges are as follows:

  • CAD$10,200 for a 1-term (4 months) exchange. For college, undergraduate, or graduate (Master’s & PhD) students
  • CAD$12,700 for a 5-to-6-month period of study or research. For graduate students only (Master’s & PhD)
  • CAD$15,900 for a 2-term (8 months) period of study or research. For undergraduate and college students.

The Canadian post-secondary institutions are responsible for selecting and applying on behalf of candidates in ASEAN countries, while the candidates themselves should inform their home post-secondary institutions of their interest in SEED and see if their home institution has an arrangement with a Canadian post-secondary institution.

Canada – CARICOM Leadership Scholarships Program:

This is an arrangement between post-secondary institutions in the Caribbean Community Countries and Canadian post-secondary institutions who submit applications on behalf of eligible candidates from CARICOM institutions. To be eligible candidates must:

  • Be citizens of: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos.
  • Not be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or applying for permanent residence.
  • Not be already enrolled in a degree or diploma program at a Canadian institution.
  • Be enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution in a CARICOM country and be paying tuition fees to that institution for the duration of the exchange.

If the candidate will be studying or doing research in pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, or other healthcare fields, they cannot be involved in clinical training or clinical research involving direct contact with patients. The candidate is expected to return to their home institution upon completion of the exchange/scholarship.

The duration and amount of the Canada – CARICOM exchanges are as follows:

  • CAD$7,200 for a 1-term (4 months) exchange. For college, undergraduate, or graduate (Master’s & PhD) students
  • CAD$9,700 for a 5-to-6-month period of study or research. For graduate students only (Master’s & PhD)
  • CAD$14,700 for a 2-term (8 months) period of study or research. For undergraduate and college students.

Canada – China Scholar’s Exchange Program (CCSEP):

This program was established nearly 50 years ago in 1973 as a way to foster academic cooperation between Canada and China. They are for research and scholarship for periods of 4 to 12 months but do not involve formal enrollment at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

Full-time teachers, researchers, and post-graduate students are awarded places in this program and preference is given to the following fields of study:

  • Public administration and public policy analysis
  • Business management
  • Economics, finance, and banking
  • Environmental protection
  • Law
  • Education
  • Public health policy and management.


Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships:

Established in 2008 these scholarships are aimed at doctoral students and intend to bring the best and brightest to Canada to help create world-class centres of research and higher learning in Canada. Up to 166 scholarships are awarded in any given year while up to 500 scholarships are active at any given time.

The scholarships are for 3 years and are for CAD$50,000 per year. They are distributed among the following Canadian grant agencies:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

The selection criteria are based on 3 broad areas:

  • Academic excellence
  • Research potential
  • Leadership ability and potential.

Applicants select a nominating institution based on their field of expertise and then put together an application package.


Pierre Elliot Trudeau Doctoral Scholarships:

These scholarships are for postgraduate PhD students and provide a wide diversity of candidates the opportunity to undertake a three year program with emphasis on leadership and ethics in innovation. It provides up to CAD$40,000 a year for tuition and living expenses and up to CAD$20,000 a year for research and travel purposes, both over the full 3-year period. It also involves:

  • Leadership seminars at reserved locations (like Montreal or Helsinki) during the first year of the program;
  • Creating a conference event in order to communicate your work to a broader public;
  • Work with mentors and other collaborators to put together a creative project in your third and final year. It can involve everything from publishing a book to putting on a theatrical production to holding a fundraising gala.

For more information, write to [email protected].


University scholarships:


Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship Program:

This program is for international students at University of Toronto who have demonstrated not only academic excellence but have also impacted their school and community. Other eligibility requirements are:

  • Currently in final year of secondary school or having graduated within less than a year;
  • Original and creative thinker;
  • Enthusiastic about learning and innovation;
  • Demonstrated strong leadership skills;
  • Intend to start university in the upcoming academic year at the undergraduate level.

To apply you must receive a nomination from your high school or secondary school and your high school/secondary school must apply to U of Toronto to be part of this scholarship program. Go here for more information. The scholarship covers tuition costs, books, incidental fees and residence costs for 4 years.


International Major Entrance Scholarship:

This UBC scholarship is for international undergraduate students and are awarded for their 1st year. The IMES is then renewable for up to 3 additional years for a total of 4 years. The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Be a new student at UBC, that is about to enter your first year
  • Be an international student on a Canadian study permit
  • Demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and community involvement
  • Not be nominated for a needs-based International Scholars award.


Outstanding International Student Award:

Also based at UBC, this is a one-time merit-based entrance scholarship based on academic excellence and community involvement. The requirements are the same as the IMES.


International Scholars Program:

Yet another program based at UBC, it is tailored to undergraduate students and hands out 2 awards to successful candidates from around the world. Some of the features of the program are

  • Exchange programs where you can study abroad
  • Community learning projects
  • Annual retreats to develop leadership skills
  • Annual workshops.

The two awards are

  • Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award: for international undergraduate students with exceptional academic achievement as well as leadership skills and community involvement.
  • Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award: for international undergraduate students from war torn, or impoverished areas that have achieved academic excellence and would be unable to attend university without financial support.


Humber College International Entrance Scholarships:

As an international student at Humber, you have a couple of options to choose from.

  • Bachelors Degree Scholarships which are available to ALL undergrads including international students.
  • English for Academic Purposes Scholarships are also available to international students for the EAP program which prepares international students for university level English. There are also several annual awards:
    • Academic Excellence in English for Academic Purposes award which hands out CAD$250;
    • English for Academic Purposes International Student Diploma Pathway awards which is worth CAD$500;
    • English for Academic Purposes International Student Degree or Post Graduate Pathway awards which is worth CAD$500.


As you might imagine, there are financial support programs at most Canadian post secondary institutions. Once you have chosen where you would like to study in Canada, head to the school’s website and look under international students as well as financial aid. We’ve listed a few of the main awards and scholarships in Canada but its up to you to research and apply for them, depending on where you wish to study. The options are there. And feel free to ask us at IMMIgroup about a specific school if you wish.  

7 Scholarships for Students from Africa

As well, if you’re an African student looking to complete your post-secondary studies abroad and are perhaps considering studying in Canada, you should know that there are a number of scholarships available to African students studying in Canada. Some are specific to a university but also part of a general scholarship program like the Mastercard Foundations Scholarships, for example. While some are for full tuition, many give financial support worth thousands of Canadian dollars but don’t cover the complete cost of your studies. Nonetheless, they are a big help to any international student struggling with the higher fees they face, compared to the tuition paid by Canadian students.

So, let’s continue our look at financial assistance for international students by focusing in on what’s available specifically for African students planning to study at the post-secondary level in Canada. Here then, are 7 Scholarships for Students from Africa:


UBC Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

In conjunction with the Mastercard Foundation, University of British Columbia has put together a wonderful scholarship opportunity for dozens of students from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Mastercard Foundation has a planned target of providing scholarships to up to 15,000 students from Africa through a network of schools in Africa, Europe, North America & the Middle East. You must be 29 years old or younger to apply for undergraduate MCF Scholarships and 35 or younger to apply for graduate MCF Scholarships.

UBC, along with U of Toronto and McGill, is part of that network and has been offering these scholarships since 2013. The plan at UBC is to offer a total of 163 scholarships over the ten-year period starting in 2013, including 77 undergraduate scholars.

Unfortunately, all undergraduate scholarships at U of British Columbia have currently been awarded and at this point no further undergrad scholarships are being awarded at UBC. To ask about other scholarships (like Masters/graduate Scholarships or others) please write to the address below, as well as to see when they might start offering new undergrad scholarships again.  

The address is as follows:

The UBC Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
Vancouver Campus
c/o MCFSP, Global Lounge
2205 Lower Mall, Bldg 1
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6T 1Z4
[email protected]


U of Toronto Mastercard Foundation Scholarships

As with UBC, the Mastercard Foundation also offers scholarships to study at University of Toronto. To qualify, you must be both a resident and a citizen of a sub-Saharan country. It offers full tuition, housing, travel, books, and other expenses, for the duration of a 4-year undergraduate degree.

  • The scholarship applies to 4-year undergraduate programs in the Arts & Sciences faculty as well as the Applied Science & Engineering faculty.
  • As well, students must do 2 unpaid internships:<
    • During the 2nd summer of the undergrad program (between 2nd and 3rd year) you must do an unpaid internship in the Toronto area to improve your local practical and work skills.
    • During the 3rd summer of the undergrad program (between 3rd and 4th year) you must do an unpaid internship in Africa where you will be able to apply some of the skills and knowledge obtained at school and in your first internship.

To contact U of Toronto about the MCF Scholarship Program: Email: [email protected]; Phone: 1-416-946-5269


McGill Mastercard Foundation Scholarships

McGill’s MFC Scholarships have the unique quality that candidates from French-speaking African nations have the option of applying and taking an intensive English-language course in order to get up to speed for their studies at McGill. The university is located in Montreal, the main city in Canada’s francophone province, Quebec, so French speakers are able to adapt fairly easily to Quebec’s culture. McGill provides most of its courses in English, of course.

Applications for the fall of 2020 are no longer being accepted, so you should contact the university to see when applications for next year will be available.

For more information: Email: [email protected]


Richard J. Van Loon Scholarship

This scholarship for studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, is awarded annually to an outstanding student from an African country. The amount is CAD$5,000 so while it is certainly a great help, it is not a full-tuition scholarship as is the case with MCF Scholarships. To be eligible you must:

  • Be a citizen of an African country.
  • Be an international student with a valid Canadian study permit.
  • Be registered as a full-time student at Carleton University and be transitioning successfully from one year to another in any program. In other words, you must be finishing up at least your first year at Carleton and have passed all requirements in order to start your next year of studies.
  • Be in good academic standing.

Go here to download the application form, and then once you have completed it, take it to the Awards Office at Carleton University.


African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship

This provides funding for a master’s degree in:

  • Public administration,
  • Public finance, or
  • Public policy

in Canada for African students. It has two components:

  • Completion of a 1-or-2-year master’s program in the above-mentioned areas;
  • Preparation and development of a professional development plan with a mentor involving case studies.

The scholarship is managed by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) in conjunction with Global Affairs Canada and Mastercard. Unfortunately, there will be no applications for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year. To find out when new applications will be accepted see the following contact information:

220 Laurier Ave West
Suite 1550
Ottawa, ON, K1P 5Z9
Email: [email protected]


University of Waterloo Mastercard Foundation MBET Scholarships

This is for graduate students who have studied at a post-secondary institution in Kenya or elsewhere in East Africa and wish to study at Waterloo in a Masters of Business Entrepreneurship & Technology (MBET). The amount of the scholarship is between CAD$25,000 and $42,000. One or two scholarships are awarded annually based on academic merit (minimum 80% averages are required). As well, an interest in and some experience in entrepreneurship is also required.

For further information contact the graduate co-ordinator for Business Entrepreneurship & Technology – Tara Gingerich Hiebert, email: [email protected]


Open Society Foundation Disability Rights Scholarships

This provides financial aid for 1-year master’s programs for disability rights advocates, lawyers, and educators to develop laws and programs to assist and develop disability rights in Africa and around the world. To be eligible:

  • You must be a citizen and legal resident of one of the following countries:
    • Ethiopia
    • Lesotho
    • Sudan
    • South Sudan
    • As well as Czechia, Georgia, & Ukraine;
  • You must have worked in the legal profession or advocacy of disability rights;
  • You must have an excellent academic record and an LLB (law degree);
  • You must have demonstrated leadership in the field of disability rights;
  • You must be proficient in spoken and written English or French;
  • You must be able to receive a study permit from the host country where you will study;
  • You must demonstrate a clear commitment to your home country;
  • You must be able to begin the graduate program in August or September of 2020.

Go here to start the process of registering and applying online.

For African applicants, your coordinator is located at the University of Pretoria in South Africa:

Jehoshaphat Njau
Project Coordinator, Disability Rights Unit Centre for Human Rights
Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 002, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)12 420 6345
Fax: +27 (0)86 580 5743 
Email: [email protected]

Go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to download program guidelines and the application form.