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Study costs for international students in Canada

How much does it cost to study in Canada? The good news is that studying in Canada is affordable. That’s right! It’s cheaper than you think. When it comes to post-secondary education, our tuition fees are generally lower than colleges and universities in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.[1]

This page will give you the information you need to understand the cost of studying in Canada from elementary to secondary school, college, university, graduate studies, language school and more.

There’s more to your study costs than tuition and other fees. Our Prepare your budget information will help you plan for other expenses, such as living costs.

Cost of elementary school in Canada

Public elementary or primary school is free for residents of Canada. If you’re sending your child to Canada to study, please check with the school to find out if there are fees for international students. Sometimes, schools charge small fees for your child to participate in extra activities, such as sports teams or school outings. Most children bring their own lunch to school, however, some schools offer cafeterias or hot lunch programs where your child may purchase a meal.

Cost of high school in Canada

Public secondary or high school is free in Canada for residents of the country. Many schools charge fees for international students, which can range from approximately CAD 8,000 to CAD 14,000 per year. Please check with the school you want your teenager to attend to confirm the cost, if any, for international students.

Sometimes, schools charge small fees for your child to participate in extra activities, such as sports teams or school outings. In high school, many students bring their own lunch to school, however, some schools offer cafeterias or hot lunch programs where your child may purchase a meal.

Cost of language school in Canada

Language schools often provide courses based on a certain number of weeks, rather than a semester approach to study. The cost of tuition at Canadian language schools is established by each school.

Here is some sample costing for language schools in some of Canada’s key metropolitan areas (not including housing or meals):

  • Toronto: 12-week English language school = CAD 3,515
  • Quebec City: 12-week French language school = CAD 3,570
  • Vancouver: 12-week English language school = CAD 4,083
  • Calgary: 12-week French language school = CAD 3,446

Cost of college and vocational school in Canada

College programs vary in length, so they are often less expensive than university studies. Some programs include work-integrated learning, which may earn you an income while you are in Canada.

You’ll find high-quality colleges and vocational schools throughout Canada, including smaller cities and towns where the cost of living is lower. Even Canada’s larger cities are relatively more affordable than many cities around the world.

Tuition fees for international students in Canada vary depending on the program and location you choose. Try our search tool to find your college program and calculate what it will cost you:

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You will see that some schools offer free tuition, while others range from approximately CAD 2,000 per year to CAD 18,000 per year for tuition, depending on the college and your program of study. It pays to do your research, so try comparing up to 3 colleges and destinations in one search. Our tool will do that for you.

It will also generate costs for your living expenses. We found that, on average, living costs tend to be approximately CAD 12,000 for Canadian college students.

Cost of university in Canada

What could be better than earning a university degree in a beautiful country? Finding a reputable program that you can afford. Many quality universities are found in Canada’s smaller cities and towns where the cost of living is lower. At times, Canada’s larger cities are more affordable than many cities around the world.

Try our search tool to find your university program and calculate what it will cost you:

Search colleges & universities

You can also compare different schools and cities. You’ll see that the costs can vary from city to city and province to province, both for your tuition fees and living expenses. So, if you’re on a budget, we recommend searching a wide range of options to find the right university and community for you.

To give you an idea of the costs, we tested our search tool on a number of bachelor’s degree options across Canada. We found that tuition can range from CAD 1,800 per year to approximately CAD 20,000 per year for an undergraduate degree. The tool will also give you the estimated costs for books and supplies.

Similarly, the cost of accommodation, food and local transportation varies from city to city. Our search tool will give you a good idea of the cost you once you choose your school, however, we found that living expenses for one year averaged around CAD 12,000.

Cost of graduate studies in Canada

Your graduate studies are a smart career investment. Canada’s master’s and PhD programs are recognized around the globe, and our relatively lower cost of living makes the opportunity even more appealing to international students like you. Even Canada’s larger cities are more affordable than many cities around the world.

Graduate tuition fees in Canada can vary depending on the program and location you choose. Try our search tool to find your graduate studies program and calculate what it will cost you:

Search colleges & universities

To give you an idea of the costs, we tested our search tool on a number of master’s and PhD programs across Canada. We found that tuition can range from CAD 2,500 per year to approximately CAD 18,000 per year for a master’s degree program. A PhD might run you approximately CAD 2,500 to CAD 17,000 per year. Be sure to compare programs from different provinces and schools if you are on a budget. The tool will also give you the estimated costs for books and supplies.

The cost of accommodation, food and local transportation varies from city to city. Our search tool will give you a good idea of the cost you once you choose your school, however, we found that living expenses for one year averaged around CAD 12,000.

Cost of professional certification in Canada

You’ll find professional certification programs available both in-person and online through distance education. Use our Search colleges & universities tool to locate the program you need and the cost for completing it.

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Cost of student exchange programs in Canada

The costs of student exchange programs vary depending on the organization offering the programs and their fee structure. You may use an educational agent to help you find an exchange program for your child to attend school in Canada.

If you are interested in doing a semester or year in Canada as a college or university student, use our search tool to locate programs and schools that fit your career aspirations. It will provide you with the estimated costs for tuition and living expenses.

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Cost of online and distance education

Fees for online learning vary based on whether the program is part of a college diploma, bachelor’s degree or at the graduate studies level. Costs can also vary depending on the institution and program you choose. You may use our search tool to calculate the costs of your distance education program.

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Scholarships to study in Canada

You may be eligible for a scholarship, fellowship or grant to study in Canada. The Government of Canada, our provinces and territories and many educational institutions offer funding for international students.

Find scholarships

Living expenses for international students in Canada

When you’re planning your budget as an international student in Canada, there are some important expenses to consider:

  • Housing
  • Food and groceries
  • Transportation
  • Health insurance
  • Entertainment and fun

Find out more about how to plan your living expenses in Canada.

Prepare your budget to study in Canada


[1] QS Top Universities 2018.