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10 Cheap Universities in Canada for International Students

Updated: June 13, 2024 | Published: April 28, 2019

Updated: June 13, 2024

Published: April 28, 2019

10 Cheap Universities in Canada for International Students copy

Studying in Canada is an excellent alternative for those looking for an affordable degree as an international student. Canada offers low tuition rates for international and domestic students. Plus, you’ll be studying in an English (or French!) environment in a highly developed country. The education system in Canada is reputable and comparble to countries such as the U.K. and the U.S.

Many international students choose to study in Canada for the low tuition prices, ease and comfort of living, and great reputation of the universities. For those looking for affordable degrees, here are 10 cheap universities in Canada for international students—plus a bonus free one!

Why Study in Canada 

1. It’s affordable.

Compared to top universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries, Canada offers degrees that are much easier on your wallet.

2. The reputation.

Canada has a reputation for one of the best education systems in the world, and its universities are no exception.

3. Ease of living.

Studying in another country can sound daunting, but making that happen in an English-speaking, first-world country makes it easier for international students to get along.

Tuition Fees in Canada for International Students 2022 

Tuition for international students studying in Canada will depend on the type of program and where you choose to study. Bachelor’s degrees will vary from $8,700 up to $54,000 per year in tuition, while yearly tuition fees for Master’s degrees will cost between $4,000 to $30,000. 

Top Universities 

U.S. News lists the top Canadian universities as University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, McMaster University and University of Montreal. These universities are all recognized internationally as excellent global schools and still offer much more affordable tuition rates than their international counterparts. 

University of Montreal 

  • Bachelor’s Degree Tuition: $27,102 
  • Graduate Degree Tuition: $17,708 – $20,553

McGill University 

  • Bachelor’s Degree Tuition: $20,483 – $41,000 
  • Graduate Degree Tuition: $17,708 – $28,362 

McMaster University 

  • Bachelor’s Degree Tuition: $40,318 – $45,703 
  • Graduate Degree Tuition: $6,307 – $17,096 

University of British Columbia 

  • Bachelor’s Degree Tuition: $41,595 – $44,942
  • Graduate Degree Tuition: $9,500 

University of Toronto 

  • Bachelor’s Degree Tuition: $43,620- $62,580
  • Graduate Degree Tuition: $6,210 – $45,310 

Cheap Bachelor Degrees in Canada 

If you’re looking for the most affordable options Canada offers, look no further. 

1. University of the People

  • Location: Online

UoPeople is a US-accredited online university, meaning you can study anywhere and anytime! The application process is simple and the rewards of degree completion are definitely worthwhile.

2. Brandon University

  • Location: Brandon, Manitoba
  • Tuition: $7,203
  • Degree Programs: BA, BBA, BEd, BFA, BM, BN, BSc

International students at Brandon U are invited to apply with the university’s international application process. Brandon University claims to have a long and positive relationship with international students and offers one-to-one professor interactions and research opportunities not available at larger universities.

3. Université de Saint-Boniface

  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Tuition: $10,570 – 16,850
  • Degree Programs: Bachelor’s Degrees in Arts, Social Work, Translation, Science, Nursing, Business, and Education. Students may continue studies toward a Master’s degree at the University of Manitoba

International students at Saint-Boniface must expect to be able to speak a certain level of French as this is a French university. Some programs also require a level of English proficiency as well.

4. Canadian Mennonite University

  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Tuition: $10,003
  • Degree Programs: Three- and four-year BA, BSc, BBA, and Master’s Programs

International students at CMU are welcomed and encouraged to apply due to the undoubtedly wide variety of experiences and perspectives that they may bring. International students may choose from over 19 majors for bachelor’s studies.

5. Memorial University of Newfoundland

  • Location: St. Johns, Newfoundland
  • Tuition: $20,000
  • Degree Programs: More than 100 programs for Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificates

International students at MUN: Memorial University warmly welcome and encourage international applications. The university offers specialized services for international students such as student advising, an internationalization office, and international student groups.

Cheap Master Degrees in Canada 

1. Memorial University of Newfoundland

  • Location: St. Johns, Newfoundland
  • Tuition: $6,390
  • Degree Programs: Large variety of Master’s and Doctorate programs both in person and online, in fields of Humanities & Social Sciences, Professional Programs, Interdisciplinary Programs, and Sciences

2. University of Northern British Columbia

  • Location: Prince George, British Columbia
  • Tuition: $7,494
  • Degree Programs: MBA, MSc, MEd, MEng, MScN, MSW, Graduate Certificates, and Doctorate programs

3. University of Calgary

  • Location: Calgary, Alberta
  • Tuition: $4,319
  • Degree Programs: Offers course-based and research-based Master’s and Doctorate degrees in a variety of subjects

4. Simon Fraser University

  • Location: Burnaby, British Columbia
  • Tuition: $6,075
  • Degree Programs: Variety of graduate programs in Applied Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Communication, Art & Technology, Education, Environment, Health Sciences, and Science

5. University of Saskatchewan

  • Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Tuition: $3,000 – $5,000
  • Degree Programs: Over 80 Master’s and Doctorate degrees. Specializing in research and medical fields

Tuition-Free Universities in Canada for International Students 

University of the People is accredited by an American accrediting institution and is suitable for all international students including Canadian students. This fully online university offers a variety of tuition-free programs ranging from Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees in Business, Computer Science, Education, and Health Science. 

Canadian universities may have low tuition fees, but you can’t beat the tuition-free rates offered by UoPeople. While the flexibility of an online degree offers the chance to study anytime and anywhere you want. 


What is the Cost of Living in Canada for Students? 

As with most large countries, the cost of living varies drastically across the expansive nation of Canada. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, many large metropolis areas are unaffordable, however, there are still some areas left in which one can live on a student budget. 

Here’s a breakdown of the average costs a student can expect to find in Canada (in $CAD): 

  • Basic lunch & drink: $23 
  • Monthly rent in 45 sq m furnished studio: $1,729 
  • Monthly utilities: $166 
  • Monthly internet: $56 
  • Monthly public transport: $109 
  • Monthly gym membership: $64 
  • Pair of jeans: $77 
  • Private doctor visit: $115 
  • Toothpaste: $3.47 
  • Cappuccino: $5.13 

Note: The Canadian government requires that an applicant show proof of having $10,000 CAD on top of tuition for a student visa, however, you will likely need more. 

How can International Students find Funding and Support? 

While studying in Canada may save you on tuition fees, you may still want to consider applying for funding and scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships and grants available to international students, and even scholarships exclusively for students from specific countries. Check out these top tips to apply for scholarships for international students. 

How do I Apply to Canadian Universities? 

As an international student, your application to a Canadian university will have special requirements. In addition to the typical student application including letters of recommendation, resume and educational history, you may also be asked to provide the following: 

  • Proof of finances 
  • English proficiency 
  • International application 
  • Passport information 
  • A translated copy of your transcript 

Remember that you will also need a student visa to study for longer than six months in Canada. The application can be done online and costs $150 CAD. The government of Canada will ask for proof of finances, proof of health and general well-being, proof of no criminal record, and your university acceptance letter. It is recommended that you begin your student visa application as soon as you receive acceptance into the Canadian university. 

All in all, studying in Canada as an international student will gain you a reputable internationally recognized degree and you may save money as well! If you are still not convinced and looking to study in the states, check out these 7 affordable U.S. universities for international students.  

Can international students work while studying at these universities?

Yes, international students in Canada can work while studying. They can work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as summer holidays.

What is the student community like for international students in Canada?

The student community in Canada is diverse and welcoming. Canadian universities often have various support services, including international student offices, student associations, and cultural clubs, to help international students integrate and feel at home.

Can international students transfer credits from other universities to Canadian universities?

Yes, international students can transfer credits from other universities to Canadian institutions. The process typically involves submitting transcripts and course descriptions for evaluation to determine credit equivalency.

Are there any cultural integration programs available for international students in Canada?

Many Canadian universities offer cultural integration programs for international students, such as orientation sessions, buddy programs, cultural events, and language exchange programs to help students adjust to their new environment.

What housing options are available for international students in Canada?

International students in Canada have various housing options, including on-campus residences, off-campus apartments, homestays with local families, and shared accommodations. Each university typically provides resources and assistance to help students find suitable housing.

Are there English language proficiency requirements for international students in Canada?

Yes, most Canadian universities require international students to demonstrate English language proficiency. Commonly accepted tests include IELTS, TOEFL, and CAEL. Specific score requirements vary by institution and program.

Are there any specific visa requirements for international students in Canada?

International students need a study permit to study in Canada for more than six months. The application process requires proof of acceptance from a Canadian institution, proof of financial support, and other documents like a valid passport and health insurance.

Can international students bring their families while studying in Canada?

Yes, international students can bring their families to Canada. Spouses or common-law partners may apply for an open work permit, and dependent children can attend school. Family members are required to have proper documentation and visa applications.

What is the process for international students to obtain health insurance in Canada?

Health insurance for international students in Canada varies by province. Some provinces provide health coverage, while others require students to purchase private health insurance. For detailed information, it is essential to check with the specific university and provincial health services.