Cost of Studying in Canada

Studying in a foreign country can be an expensive affair, but thankfully, Canada is one country where quality education is available at tuition rates much lower than many other English speaking countries. But before you pack your bags and catch a flight, ensure that you consider expenses like accommodation, food, health coverage and travel along with your tuition fee when calculating the estimated cost of studying in Canada. This will help you plan your budget more effectively.

1. Tuition fee is your biggest expenditure

Your tuition fee depends on the type of qualification and institution you opt to go for. Usually tuition in Canada costs approximately between CAD 7,000 and CAD 29,000 a year.

Most commonly, courses in humanities, education and arts are a little cheaper, while subjects such as medicine and engineering are likely to be more expensive. If you wish to study at a postgraduate level, the tuition fee is typically higher and the costs vary depending on the program. As with most other countries, MBA programs are often the most expensive. The average cost for these programs is around CAD 42,000.

S.no.Study programAverage annual fee (in CAD*)
1Undergraduate program$12,000 to $25,000 per year
2Postgraduate master's degree$14,000 to $35,000 per year
3Doctoral degree$7,000 to $10,000 per year

*Please note all fee figures are indicative

You can apply to various scholarships as well to bring down your educational expenses.

2. Calculate accommodation costs

Another source of expenses when studying abroad is accommodation. Most universities in Canada offer on-campus residence facilities to international students. Many international students also opt for an off-campus accommodation wherein they share apartments with other students from their home country. Cost for on-campus accommodation may range anywhere from CAD 8,000 to CAD 10,000 (annually) whereas living in a shared apartment can cost you around CAD 400 to CAD 700 per month depending upon your location and time of the year. Remember, the rentals vary from city to city.

3. Cost of your student visa and permit

In order to study in Canada, the first step is to secure a valid study permit and that comes with its own costs (approx. CAD 150). Find out about visa application process.

4. Living expenses

For many students, going abroad to study is also their first time living away from their families. Many international students are unaware of how quickly living expenses can burn a hole in their pockets if they don't pay close attention to them. You will need to keep a little money aside for your grocery shopping, social activities and emergency situations. When living in a foreign country as a student, it is better to keep a track of your expenditures so that you do not over spend. Considering various expenses and living costs, a single student budget in Canada comes out to be approx. CAD 15,000 (indicative) per year. You should also consider these common expenses when creating your budget:

  • Communication expenses: As an international student, you’d be frequently calling your friends and family back home. Therefore, always keep a section of your budget for phone bills and data expenses. Look for cost-effective calling plans and student discounts in order to stay connected with your loved ones within your monthly budget.
  • Books and supplies: Purchasing textbooks can get a little expensive. For instance, each book for engineering courses can cost you approx. CAD 250 to CAD 350. For courses like law, medicine and pharmacy, the value can go even higher. You can manage this in your budget by opting for second hand books, buying digital versions or even securing a library membership.
  • Personal expenses and incidentals: Your daily expenses will include laundry, toiletries, clothing, dining out, etc. This depends entirely on the kind of lifestyle you choose for yourself.

5. Consider health support and insurance

It is mandatory for all students travelling to Canada to get a medical insurance before the commencement of their program. The average annual cost for medical insurance ranges between CAD 300- CAD 800 a year (indicative). Know more about health and support services in Canada

6. Transportation. Know how much it will cost to move around

Unless your institution provides with a shuttle service to-and-fro from your lodging, you’ll have to rely on the available public transport.

  • For short distances
    You can make use of regional trains, buses, and subways. Metropolitan cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal offer buses and subways. Smaller cities may or may not have subways, but you can always avail buses, commuter trains or local taxi service. You can check the schedule on the web or in your phone book’s yellow pages or white pages with city government listings. This can range anywhere between CAD 80 and CAD 110 for a month (indicative). It is a good idea to get monthly passes for commuting to college as they come in fairly cheap.
  • Park and Ride service
    If you live far from the bus stop, some cities give you the option to drive down to a special parking area where you can park your car and then take a train or bus. You can also rent a car by getting an international driver’s license. Your commute expense will vary accordingly.
  • For long distances
    For travelling between different cities, you can avail long-distance buses, railways, and flights.

7. Don’t ignore your taxes

Indian students studying in Canada having a Social Insurance Number (SIN) are allowed to work 20 hours per week during academic sessions and full-time during vacations. If you choose to work along with your studies, your Canadian earned income will be taxable. Along with this, if you have a scholarship or assistantship from your institution, the federal and state governments may tax these wards.

Remember, the exchange rate variations may also affect your budgeting. We suggest you also look for a part time job while you are studying in Canada or seek scholarship in the universities you apply to. This can help lower your cost of studying abroad to a great extent.


Ready to get started? Book a FREE consultation to discuss your study options in Canada.