Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students: Tuition Fees, Cost of Living, & Scholarships

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    As Canada aces up the ladder of study abroad destination, a concern of the cost of attendance involved increases among the international students. Studying in Canada is considered inexpensive when compared to the other study destinations around the world like the US and UK. Choosing the cheapest universities in Canada is an excellent option for those looking for an affordable education as an international student. Finding colleges in Canada with low tuition fees eases down the overall cost of attendance involved in studying abroad. 

    According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 96% of the total international students who went to study abroad recommend Canada as a study destination. Being home to over 6 lakh international students from more than 170 countries, Canada offers plenty of funding options to its international crowd. You can choose from loans, work-study options as well as a pool of scholarships in Canada to ease down your expenses in cases where you do get into budget Canadian colleges.

    In this article, we will discuss the cheapest universities in Canada, their tuition fees, the cost of living in Canada and scholarships for international students.

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    Cheapest Universities in Canada for International Students

    International students who are looking for the most affordable universities in Canada need to look no further. Given below is a table showcasing the best as well as cheapest universities in Canada for international students for undergraduate as well as postgraduate education.

    Cheapest Universities in Canada for Undergraduate Degrees

    Universities Location Tuition Fees (CAD)
    Brandon University Brandon, Manitoba 13,000
    Laval University Quebec City, Quebec 17,000
    Universite de Saint-Boniface Winnipeg, Manitoba 22,400
    University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 16,500
    University of Regina Regina, Saskatchewan 20,900
    University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario 36,900
    Simon Fraser University Burnaby, British Columbia 27,900
    Canadian Mennonite University Winnipeg, Manitoba 11,200
    Memorial University of Newfoundland St.Johns, Newfoundland 10,700

    You can also find some scholarships covering the complete cost of living and study for international UG aspirants like the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship. Learn more about UG scholarships in Canada, here.

    Cheapest Universities in Canada for Postgraduate Degrees

    Universities Location  Tuition Fees
    University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia 8,400
    University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta 17,600
    University of Quebec Montreal, Quebec 3,400
    McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario 10,700
    University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, British Columbia $3,297
    Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia 18,100
    Memorial University of Newfoundland St.Johns, Newfoundland $3,222
    Simon Fraser University Burnaby, British Columbia $3,743
    University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta $3,693
    University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, Saskatchewan $4,358

    If you are looking for pursuing an MBA course in Canada, here are some cheap universities offering MBA on a budget in Canada. Apart from budget colleges, you can 

    Cost of Living in Canada

    Like most major countries, the cost of living in Canada varies dramatically across various parts of the country. The Canadian government requires an applicant to show proof of having 10,000 CAD apart from the tuition fees to study in Canada.

    Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of living an applicant can expect while living in Canada:-

    Cost of living

    Accommodation Costs

    There are three main options for housing facilities in Canada for students:-

    • Student Residences:- The price ranges between 250-625 CAD per month.
    • University-provided Homestay:- The price rates for this facility usually ranges from 400 to 800 per month.
    • Apartments:- Though the rent of an apartment depends on its location and amenities included, the initial price range starts from 300-700 CAD per month.

    Cheapest Universities in Canada for Living Costs

    University Accommodation (CAD)
    UBC 600 to 7200
    McMasters University 7800 to 10000
    McGill University 6800 to11000
    University of Montreal 5,800 to 10,100
    University of Alberta 5000 to 10000
    University of Calgary 3800 to 7600
    SFU 4500

    Other Related Expenses

    • Basic Utilities (electricity, water, heat, garbage etc): 150 CAD/month
    • Internet: 50-70 CAD per month


    • Shopping:- Students living in Canada do not need to spend much on food shopping. The approximate amount needed is 300 CAD every month.
    • Restaurants:- 10-25 CAD per meal

    Transportation Costs

    • Transport Pass:- The total price of a travel pass is 90 CAD/month.
    • Taxis and cabs are also a common way of transportation in Canada and fare costs 2-6 CAD/km.

    Cost of living in Canadian Cities

    Apart from finding cheaper universities in Canada, it is important to know the cities offering accommodations, food, transportation, and other important expenses at a cheaper cost. The cost of living in some of the best cities in Canada for international students are given below:

    Province Accommodation (CAD) Food (CAD) Transportation (CAD) Miscellaneous (CAD)
    Alberta 481  282  73  338 
    Ontario 600  270  86  290 
    New Brunswick 458 245  71  237 
    Quebec 423 272  42  318 
    Saskatchewan 560  259 83  311
    Newfoundland  495  269  69  234 
    British Columbia 871  279 108  342 
    Manitoba  495  253  100  307 
    Nova Scotia 500  245  68   247 

    The above-mentioned expenses are monthly costs in Canadian Dollars. The cost may vary depending upon your choice of accommodation and lifestyle. An additional 10,000 CAD (annually) must be available with an international student living outside the province of Quebec.

    Why Study in Canada?

    During 2010-2018, Canada witnessed an increase of 154% in the total number of international students studying in Canadian universities. There are innumerable reasons why international students decide to choose Canada for their further education. Some of the major reasons are:-

    Top-Notch Education

    Canada is widely recognized for its outstanding quality of education, from elementary to post-secondary studies. According to QS World University Ranking 2018, seven of the world’s top 150 universities are located in Canada. The most popular Canadian universities like the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Alberta are regarded equally well in comparison to the Ivy Leagues and other prestigious universities around the world.

    Good Quality of Living

    As per the research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an average household net-adjusted disposable income in Canada is $30,854 per year. In terms of employment, around 73% of people aged between 15-64 in Canada have a paid job, which is an essential feature to sustain a good quality of life. Also in terms of health, life expectancy at birth is 82 years, which is two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years.


    One of the most attractive aspects of studying in Canada is that the country is known for providing a world-class education at some of the most affordable universities among English-speaking countries. The cost of tuition fees, as well as the cost of living in Canada, is very affordable and with proper planning, students can make preparations for their studies in Canadian universities.

    Recently, QS World University Rankings 2021 has released the list of top universities around the world which includes 26 Canadian universities. Given below is a list of top 10 highest-ranked universities located in Canada along with their global rankings. These universities are well-recognized around the globe for providing great quality education at much more affordable rates than their international counterparts like the USA, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

    Global Ranking University 
    29 University of Toronto
    35 McGill University
    51 University of British Columbia
    113 University of Alberta
    137 Université de Montréal
    140 McMaster University
    173 University of Waterloo
    211 Western University
    233 University of Calgary
    239 Queen’s University

    Scholarships to Study in Canada

    As one of the most sought-after destinations for international students, Canada offers a wide range of scholarships and other financial aid options at every stage of education such as foundation, bachelor, masters, and doctorate levels. These various types of financial aid are offered by the Canadian government, governments of respective countries, private organizations, and individual Canadian universities. International students with excellent grades and overall performance can apply for these scholarships to secure admission at the affordable universities in Canada. To know more, check out Scholarships in Canada for International Students.


    Ques. Is there a free university in Canada?

    Ans. There is no university in Canada that will be completely free for an international student. However, you can look for scholarships that can cover the complete cost of studying and living in Canada for your, such as Lester B. Pearson scholarship. It covers the complete cost of studying and living for an international student planning to pursue UG courses in Canada. 

    Ques. Where is the cheapest place to study in Canada?

    Ans. Some of the most affordable regions of Canada are New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland.

    Ques. How much does it cost to study in Canada?

    Ans. The cost of studying can vary based on the tuition fees of the university you opt for. The cost of living generally goes around 10,000 to 20,00 CAD. The tuition can range from 8000 CAD to 50,000 CAD based on course, level of study, and university opted.

    Ques. What courses are in demand in Canada?

    Ans. Some of the most popular courses in Canada are project management, computer science and engineering, mechanical engineering, logistics & supply chain management, international business management, and MBA.  

    Ques. Is it cheaper to study in Canada or UK?

    Ans. Cost of studying a specific program in UK or Canada is comparable depending on the choice of university. However, the cost of living in UK is lot more than the cost of living in Canada. Overall expense of an international student studying UK is higher than a student in Canada. 

    Ques. Is it cheaper to study in USA or Canada?

    Ans. The tuition fees and other living expenses experienced by an international student studying in Canada are lot lesser than the one studying in USA.