Cost of Studying in Canada

Cost of Studying and Living in Canada

Studying in Canada can be money-consuming. Be ready to spend C$20,000–30,000 per year on college or university fees plus C$15,000–20,000 annually on your daily needs. Also, you will bear some expenses before you even start your studies.

Before you start your studies

Before you apply to a college or a university program, you may need to take an English or French course to prepare yourself for the IELTS, TOEFL or TCF tests. Fees vary from school to school and depend on the length of study. For instance, in Seneca College (Toronto), tuition fees for foreign residents are about C$3,200 for a 7-week English course, and in ILAC school (in Toronto and Vancouver) a 10-week course (30 lessons per week) costs C$3,600.

While applying to a college or a university program, you will need to pay an application fee that varies from C$45 to about $C100.

When you get a study permit, you must also prove that you can support yourself and the family members who come with you.

Minimum funds needed to prove in order to get a study permit (CAD)

Source: Government of Canada

Persons coming to Canada Amount of funds required per year (additional to the tuition) Amount of funds required per month (additional to the tuition)
Quebec Other provinces Quebec Other provinces
You (the student) 11,000 10,000 917 833
First family member 3,800 – 5,100 4,000 317–425 333
Every additional family member 1,923 – 5,125 3,000 159–427 255

For instance, if you come to study in Canada outside Quebec and take a spouse and a child with you, you need to prove that you have at least C$17,000 (10,000 for yourself, 4,000 for your spouse, and 3,000 for your child).

Cost of Studying

Tuition fees may vary depending on the program and province.

College fees for international students range from approximately C$10,000 to C$26,000 per year, depending on the college and your program of study. Design and art programs tend to be more affordable while dental technology and dental hygiene are among the most expensive ones.

As for universities, the average tuition fees for international undergraduate students are C$27,000. One-third of students are enrolled in business, management, and public administration, with an average tuition fee of C$26K, and 14% are studying engineering, with an average tuition fee of about C$31K. Average tuition fees for international students in graduate programs stand at C$16.5,000.

MBA university programs are the most expensive ones. For an MBA in Canada, international students pay from C$37,000 to C$61,000 in tuition fees.

Cost of Living

Living expenses for one year average around C$15,000–20,000 and include food, accommodation, transport costs, and other expenses. Here are some examples of average living costs for international students in Canada:

  • Textbooks: C$1,000 per year
  • Leisure and clothes: C$1,000–2,000 per year
  • Local transportation: C$600 per year
  • Phone and Internet: C$1,200 per year
  • Health insurance: C$600–900 per year
  • Groceries: C$300–600 per month
  • One-room accommodation: C$400–800 per month
  • Rental apartment: C$1,000–3,000 per month

To find accommodation, you can check the local version of Craigslist website. Apartments near university and college campuses are often available for rent. Keep in mind that you can reduce your costs by sharing an apartment with other students.

Cost of Studying and Living Across Provinces

Out of eight provinces of Canada (for which the data is available), Ontario is the most expensive one: a graduate student spends on average more than C$54,000 per year on tuition fees, rental accommodation, groceries, and transport. Next come British Columbia and Alberta with C$42,000 and C$34,000 per year correspondingly. Cost of studying and living averages around C$30,000 in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are the least expensive (C$27,000 and C$22,000 correspondingly).

Cost of studying and living for international students in Canadian provinces (CAD per year)

Sources:,, Statistics Canada

Tuition fees (undergraduate), 2018/2019 Tuition fees (graduate), 2018/2019 Rental accommodation Groceries Transport
Alberta 21,548 11,804 15,000 6,223 1,236
British Columbia 25,472 16,988 18,000 5,731 1,140
Manitoba 15,582 10,995 12,912 6,236 1,200
New Brunswick 14,290 11,593 11,064 5,632 756
Newfoundland and Labrador 12,035 4,087 10,080 6,606 936
Ontario 34,961 21,686 25,200 5,779 1,755
Quebec 21,857 15,392 12,240 5.903 1,020
Saskatchewan 20,211 6,032 13,800 6,060 984

Common Deductions and Credits for Students

Although studying in Canada is expensive, fortunately, there are tax credits and deductions to take advantage of. The ones that apply to students are the tuition tax credit, moving expenses deduction and deduction of interest paid on student loans.

The tuition tax credit allows using school tuition fees to transfer up to C$5,000 worth of credits (minus the amount you used to reduce your tax) to your spouse, common-law partner, parents or grandparents. Alternatively, you can sum all tax credits and use them after graduation. (You can’t claim the tuition tax credit if the fees were paid by your (or your parents’) employer, or by a federal, provincial, or territorial job training program).

Moving expenses deduction. If you’re attending school away from home (as all international students do), you may be able to deduct expenses such as airfare, the cost of hiring movers and connection and reconnection charges. To be eligible you need to move more than 40 km away from home, and to be a full-time student and a Canadian resident. Unfortunately, these expenses can only be deducted from the taxable part of research grants, scholarships, and prizes.

Interest paid on your student loans. You may claim an amount for the interest paid on your loan in 2018 or the preceding 5 years for post-secondary education if you received it under the Canada Student Loans Act, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act

the Apprentice Loans Act or provincial or territorial government laws similar to those acts. Private loans and loans backed by foreign governments are not eligible.

If you wish to claim deductions or credits, you need to file a tax return.

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