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Why Studying in Canada is Better than Studying in US?

Arushi Anand Arushi Anand
Study Abroad Expert

The latest studies have proven that Canada is becoming one of the favorite study destinations for international students and has left the USA far behind. As per a survey conducted by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) in 2018, a decline of 39% of international applications has been noticed in 250 American universities.

Population321 Million35 Million
% of Immigrants 13%20.6%
Total Number of University Students21 Million2 Million
Work Permit & Visa TypesF-1 Student Visa J-1 Exchange Visitor VisaStudy Permit Work Permit
Average Graduate Entry Level Salary (USD)48,12736,895

There are numerous reasons why international students are choosing Canada over the USA to pursue higher education. Some of the major causes are discussed below in detail:-

Visa Policy

As already known, the U.S visa application system is an extremely lengthy and complicated process that requires great scrutiny and plenty of waiting. In comparison, the Canadian visa application process is relatively simpler and shorter which encourages international students to study in Canada.

In addition, Canadian universities and colleges allow international students to stay back in Canada for employment opportunities. The Post-Graduation Work Permit permits international students to stay up to three years after graduating from a post-secondary Canadian institution, depending on their course duration.

On the other hand, as an F-1 visa holder, international students are allowed to stay back to complete up to one year of temporary employment directly related to their major field of study.

During Optional Practical Training (OPT), international students can get a one-year work and stay-back permit after completion of a degree in the USA.

Costs & Expenses

Another reason why international students choose to study in Canada is because of the high cost of studies in USA. The two major expenses incurred by international students while studying abroad are tuition fees and living expenses. Given below is a comparison between study in Canada and study in the USA in terms of costs and expenses.

Cost of Studying: USA vs Canada

The amount of tuition fees varies from university to university. The estimated values of the cost of studying at various levels of education in the USA and Canada are given below:-

CategoryUSA (USD)Canada (CAD)
Undergraduate Degree$20,000-$40,000$12,000-$25,000
Postgraduate Degree$20,000-$30,000$14,000-$35,000
Doctoral Degree$28,000-$55,000$7,000-$10,000
Student Visa$160$150

Cost of Living:- USA vs Canada

Apart from tuition fees, the cost of living in Canada is also much lower than the cost of living in the US. International students can gain a fair idea of the cost of living for both countries with the table given below.

CategoryUSA (USD)Canada (CAD)
Living Expenses$10,000-$25,000$15,000
Books and Supplies$500-$1,500$250-$350
Health Support & Insurance$700-$1,000$300-$800

NOTE:- Living expenses include grocery shopping, social activities and emergency situations.

In both countries, Indian students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions and full-time during vacations.

Financial Aid

Despite the high costs of tuition and living expenses, there are various financial aid options offered to international students to make their education affordable. However, Canadian universities are more likely to offer financial aid to international students, which is quite rare in the United States.

Few of the scholarships offered to Indian students studying in the United States are:-

Several kinds of scholarships, grants and bursaries are available for international students who are planning to study in Canada, at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels.

  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Canada Graduate Scholarships- Master’s Program
  • IDRC Research Awards

Employment Opportunities

One of the most important reasons for studying abroad is a large number of career opportunities it opens up. In the U.S, the most popular professions with the highest salary packages are management executives, medicine, dentist, software engineer, finance, advertising, etc. While, on the other hand, jobs like program analyst, teacher, financial manager, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, and construction manager are some of the most coveted occupations in Canada.

One of the advantages Canadian international students have over international students studying in the US is that of Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The post-graduation work permit is an integral part of Canada’s immigration system which allows overseas students to work in Canada for up to 3 years after graduation. It is also a gateway to permanent residence and eventually citizenship.

Standard of Living

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index, Canada performs exceptionally well in various measures of well-being as compared to other countries.

  • The average household net adjusted disposable income per capita is $30,854 per year, which is lower than the OECD average of $33,604 a year.
  • When we talk about employment, 73% of people between the ages of 15 to 64 have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 68%. Around 76% of men are in paid jobs, compared with 71% of women.
  • Quality education and work-related skills are prerequisites for finding work in Canada. Around 91% of adults aged between 25-64 have completed upper secondary education. The stats are well above the OECD average of 78%.
  • In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Canada is 82 years, which is two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, whereas, it is 80 for men.

Canadians are way more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average. On a scale from 0 to 10, Canadians rate their general satisfaction with life a 7.4 on average, higher than the OECD average of 6.5.

With the low amount of tuition fees, high standard of living and innumerable career opportunities, it is safe to assume that Canada has proven itself to be one of the most coveted countries for international students.

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