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Tuition fees and the cost-of-living

Education in Canada is not free. Canadian tuition fees for international students average between $8,500 to $15,000 CAD per year depending on the program. University tuition for international students ranges between $9,500 to $18,000 CAD and more per year. Programs such as Information Technology and MBA programs can be quite expensive. As a rule, international students are required to pay the first semester’s tuition fees in full (a semester is four months of study). Later, students can make tuition fee installments each semester. College programs can be less expensive, but again, it depends on the program.

Additional living expenses for students in Canada can vary between $10,000 to 12,000 CAD per year. This includes accommodation, meals, transportation expenses, medical insurance, and the purchase of books and clothes. The cost of living in Canada depends upon the individual student's needs and the city the university or college is in. For example, if a student lives in a dorm or in rental apartment with a roommate, expenses may be less expensive. Vancouver and Toronto are more expensive then Winnipeg or Montreal (for example). Most universities offer students very reasonable campus living with meal plan options.

Student life and work opportunities while studying

Once in Canada and having completed the formalities, students will have full-time student status. Most Canadian universities and colleges can provide students with on-campus lodging or arrange homestays, but students must book well in advance. If students are not satisfied with their accommodation after the paid for period ends, they can choose to rent a room or apartment (alone, or with another student) which isn't complicated. Students in Canada have free access to libraries at the university or college as well as campus amenities including gyms, computer labs, etc. There are also student recreation centers with small, yearly membership fees. While studying in Canada, international students have the right to work legally 20 hours per week on campus or off campus by obtaining a work permit.

International students are allowed to work full time during vacations when in Canada, but they must obtain a work permit prior to starting their work. EuroAsia can assist with that process. Many programs have paid work practicums referred to as a Co-op Program – they combine work in the field with educational programming.

The table below shows an approximate tuition costs per province and a degree program (August 2017 estimate).

Province Undergraduate – University Graduate – University
Newfoundland and Labrador $8,780 $1,896 – $3,549
Prince Edward Island $8,970 $4,854 – $7,281
Nova Scotia $8,233 – $14,349 $5,735 – $19,46
New Brunswick $7,843 – $12,810 $7,260 – $9,384
Quebec $10,068 – $12,930 $9,078 – $20,000
Ontario $6,900 – $16,800 $5,650 – $26,764
Manitoba $5,573 – $8,283 $4,170 – $7,937
Saskatchewan $8,489 – $11,482 $2,000 – $7,078
Alberta $8,000 – $15,767 $5,500 – $21,546
British Columbia $9,248 – $17,667 $2,600 – $33,667

The cost-of-living while studying in Canada

Success in school is largely determined by the student's living conditions. For some, the best option is a hotel, offering comfort, peace, and independence. However, for the majority of students a long-term stay at a hotel can be expensive. Some may choose to rent an apartment or house, with or without roommates. Many students choose to stay in a student residence among their peers from other countries. For the majority, especially when taking short-term language courses, the optimal choice is to live with a Canadian family.

There are numerous reasons that most students opt for a Canadian homestay. This choice is economically advantageous. For approximately $650-800 CAD per month, students can have a separate room in a spacious house with a Canadian family that provides three home cooked meals per day (meals are optional). Another major advantage is the regular English communication that comes along with living with native English speakers. This provides the student with total immersion and gives them an opportunity to become acquainted with the culture of the local community. In addition, all students who are minors under 18 years of age (up to 19 years of age in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and the Northwest Territories) must live with a host family. There is an exception made for special summer programs that provide education and residence on campus.

Here is more information about each housing option:

Many Canadian families are pleased to host foreign students. For students, it can be an excellent opportunity to improve their English or French, become acquainted with everyday life in Canada, and make new friends. Homestay involves a more stable and safe environment for young people coming to Canada. Typically, this type of accommodation means that a Canadian student's family takes an international student into their home during the student's training in Canada. Students enjoy meals and a private furnished room, and host families encourage students to participate in family and social activities.

Canadian homestays are organized by the school and the family. Students are placed with families based on their common interests. Living conditions and location may differ from family to family. It is important to learn about the institution's homestay specifics so that students can choose a living option that suits their comfort needs. Many schools will arrange to meet students by sending representatives or homestay family members to the airport. Prices may vary depending on location. The average cost of living with a homestay family is $600-850 CAD per month.

For the sake of convenience, many schools offer their own housing located on campus or in the vicinity. These are often referred to as hostels, residences, or dorms. The quality and size of rooms can vary. Residences often provide communal kitchens, but always have toilets, showers, and laundry facilities intended for general student use. Generally students can choose between a single or a common room in the same residence, usually divided into male and female areas. In some cases, the price includes meals in the cafeteria or dining room. Most offer furnished rooms. The residence experience allows students the excellent opportunity to take part in student life and to meet other students. The average cost of a dorm room is $3000-4500 CAD per academic year (September to April). A 'hostel' in Canada usually refers to a special youth or student communal living space generally intended to be temporary for traveling youth, but many students stay at a hostel if their program is short-term.

Students have the opportunity to rent their own housing. In Canada, the price range, quality, and availability of options varies to a great degree. Larger cities can have very reasonable rents, but a limited number of available apartments. Many students choose to rent apartments together in order to save money, but they can have some difficulty in finding suitable accommodations. Many schools have placement services that offer affordable options near the student's place of study. For those who want to rent an apartment with other students, this service can also aid them in finding roommates. Students will also see announcements about nearby housing around their campus. However, for both the student's success and the family's peace of mind, it is recommended that students arrange housing before arriving in Canada.

There are different rental options if a student chooses that approach. It is usually too expensive for one student to rent a whole house alone, but many of the students, by themselves or with friends, occupy residential units (a suite of 1-6 bedrooms with an accompanying kitchen, living room, and bathroom) on one floor of a large house. Apartments are usually unfurnished, and do not include food. However, depending on the rental agreement with the landlord, the price might include water, heating/electricity, and internet.

Information on apartments or homes are advertised in local newspapers and on campus as mentioned above. The student is required to research the availability of such housing on their own, because it is not the responsibility of the educational institution to help with this. The student will have to commit to a rental agreement and most landlords require a damage deposit in the event that there is damage to the property. Rent is usually paid monthly by the tenant in cash or by cheque. It is recommended that students carefully inspect the unit for repairs prior to signing the lease to ascertain if there is anything that the landlord must repair prior to the student's move-in date. It is recommended that students carefully read the terms of the rental agreement. If students have problems with their rental arrangements, they can contact the provincially managed rental housing (residential-tenancy offices).

In Vancouver the average cost of a joint tenancy is $450-700 CAD per month. The average cost of renting an apartment or living unit by oneself is $700-1500 CAD per month.

Student Employment During Their Studies

By finding a part-time job, or fulltime during vacation periods, students who study abroad can live with less financial hardship. Some students are financially supported by their parents or relatives who have carefully calculated all future costs. However, students who decide to earn some money in their free time can gain beneficial work experience, expand their circle of acquaintances, and improve their language proficiency. According to immigration law in Canada, students can work up to 24 hours per week. Average earnings are $200-250 CAD per week. Many institutions have job centres with their own employment database. Job postings for students can also be found through employment centres or by perusing the school's bulletin boards for vacancies for part-time positions.