How much does it cost to study in Canada? | AJV Global

How much does it cost to study in Canada?

by AJV Global
Published on: 21/Dec/2021
The actual cost of studying in Canada isn’t limited to tuition fees. There are other expenses to consider when calculating the cost of studying and living in Canada.


Canada has always been a favorite study destination for ages mainly because of the following reasons:

  • Peaceful, safe, and inclusive communities 

  • World-class affordable education

  • Immigration friendly policies 

Now, if you are afraid of the cost involved in this whole process, then don’t worry. Compared to many countries, the cost of studying and living here is very affordable. As an international student studying in Canada, you may expect to spend approximately CA$27,000 to CA$64,000 annually on living expenses.

The cost of living will vary greatly based on your location and spending habits, with large cities being generally more expensive to live in. Let me give you a brief of the major expenses for studying and living in Canada. 

Tuition Fee

The tuition fees in Canada majorly depend on three factors - the study programme, institution, and qualification level. Your tuition expenses for a year may range between approximately CA$14,000 and CA$38,000 per year.  Some programs can cost up to CA$50,000 per annum. Usually, programs offered by community colleges are less expensive as compared to the programs offered by Universities in Canada. Humanities courses tend to be cheaper, while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive ones.

Application fees

The cost of applying to Canadian universities varies depending on the university and your country of origin. The University of British Columbia, for example, charges undergraduates international students CA$118.50. If you are an international student from a developing country, you may be eligible for a fee waiver.

Student Visa Fees

You'll require a Canadian student visa for the duration of your stay. If your course or programme is six months or shorter, you do not need a Canadian study permit. It costs CA$150 to apply for a student visa and CA$85 for biometrics. To acquire a study permit, you must show that you will be able to adequately fund yourself, including both your tuition and additional living expenses. This is referred to as proof of financial support. All international students in Canada must demonstrate that they have a minimum of CA$10,000 per year, or CA$833 per month, with additional financial requirements if they are bringing family members with them. You must have CA$11,000 every year in the province of Quebec.

Additional College Expenses

Besides your tuition fees, there are additional expenses like books, Supplies (such as laptops, tablets, and other program materials). The cost of books can range from CA$200  to CA$1500. Expect to spend between CA$500 to CA$3,000 on supplies. Some programs may not require you to buy any additional materials like uniforms, tools, etc, so you may save on these expenses. Other school fees, if any, may range between CA$200 to CA$2,000.

Health Insurance

All overseas students studying in Canada are required to obtain health insurance for the duration of their studies. International students can purchase health insurance from their educational institutions. Usually, health insurance is included in the tuition fees that they are paying to universities/colleges. So they don’t have to opt for it separately. The cost of insurance can range between CA$200 to CA$1,300 depending on coverage.


There are mainly two types of accommodation available for international students - on-campus accommodation and off-campus accommodation. Expect to spend between CA$700 to CA$2,500 a month depending on your choice of accommodation preference.  

On-campus accommodation: It can cost anywhere from CA$6,000 (smaller universities like St. Francis Xavier) to CA$14,000 (University of British Columbia) or CA$16,000 (University of British Columbia) for an eight-month on-campus housing and meal plan (University of Toronto).

Off-campus accommodation: The average rental price in Canada's larger cities (for example, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal) is greater than in smaller cities and villages. In a shared accommodation setting, a fair starting point for rental cost is between CA$700 and CA$1,000 per month, per room (apartment, house, or student housing). 


If you choose to live on-campus, utility costs (gas, hydro, AC, water, heating) are generally included in your residence fee – which may make on-campus housing options seem slightly expensive. Utility costs can range approximately between CA$50 to CA$200. The basic cost (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for an 85m2 Apartment is CA$166.73.

Food and Grocery

When it comes to food, Canada has a lot to offer. They have everything from small specialty food stores to large supermarkets with international food items. The cost of food largely depends on the city where you reside and of course, your eating habits. If you reside on campus, you can sign up for a meal plan that offers you unlimited access to your college or university cafeteria for all of your meals. If you live off-campus, you'll most likely cook for yourself or share cooking responsibilities with others. Check for apps that help you compare prices from store to store or find the best food discounts. The daily recommended minimum amount of money for food per person is CA$13.24. The Monthly recommended minimum amount of money for food per person (assuming 31 days per month) is CA$410.40.


All study and no play make Jack a dull boy! Besides the basic living costs, you also need to include money for leisure and entertainment in your study budget. Here are such approximate costs in Canada, taken from Numbeo in December 2021:

  • Eating out at a restaurant: CA$18 per person 

  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult: CA$51.80

  • Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend): CA$20.66

  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat: CA$14.00


When looking for an off-campus apartment, consider the location and transit options. You may be able to walk, take public transportation, ride your bike, or drive to campus. If you decide to get a car, the maintenance, gas, insurance, etc will cost approximately $500 to $800 CAD (excluding the cost of your purchase or lease). The following are the costs of various public transit taken from Numbeo in December 2021:

  • A one-way ticket on local public transport: CA$3.20

  • Monthly pass at regular price: CA$90.00

  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff): CA$4.00

  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff): CA$2.00 

Staying connected

You'll need to purchase a Canadian cell phone plan if you currently have one. The cost of a cell phone plan varies depending on the services included in the plan. The majority of plans include data; a 5GB data plan with calling and texting can cost anywhere from CA$60 and CA$100 per month. One minute of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) can cost CA$0.34. The cost of a cell phone varies based on the sort of phone you require. A smartphone can easily cost over CA$1000, but a phone without internet access can cost less than CA$50. Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin, and Koodo are some of the most popular Canadian phone plan providers. Internet subscriptions alone generally average between CA$50 to CA$80.

Winter Clothing

Last but not least, all overseas students arriving in Canada will require winter clothing. If you've never seen snow or experienced temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius, you might be astonished at how cold it can get here in the winter. A heavy winter coat might cost anywhere between CA$150 and CA$300. Walmart, MEC, and SportChek, as well as local retailers, offer affordable winter coats across Canada. Long parkas, such as the Canada Goose brand, are very popular and will keep you warm, but they may cost well over CA$1,000.

Student Discounts

Do you enjoy a good bargain or a discount? You'll come across them everywhere as an international student in Canada. Students get discounts at stores, restaurants, public transportation, airlines, trains, and other places. A valid student identification card is required to receive these student discounts.

Summary of the living expenses

This article will surely help you to know and prepare your study budget for Canada which is very important as part of your planning. To summarize the average cost of living as an international student in Canada, refer to the following table.

Type of Expense

Approx. Monthly Cost


CA$700 to CA$2,500




CA$50 to CA$200

5GB data plan(calling & texting)

CA$60 to CA$100

Internet subscriptions 

CA$50 to CA$80

Public Transit

CA$80 to CA$150

Shopping & Entertainment

$100 to $300 CAD

Fitness Club Membership/Adult


Unexpected Expenses

It's always a good idea to be prepared and save aside money for unforeseen expenses. Studying abroad is a time-consuming and difficult process. Our study experts can assist you with every step of the process, from choosing the ideal course to putting together a foolproof application that will get you shortlisted.

(Data Source: EduCanada, Arrive, Numbeo)

Partner / Author: AJV Global

AJV Global is a New Zealand based ENZ-recognized company. We are an end-to-end education & migration company, with a highly qualified team of advisers licensed by the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority and former immigration officers.

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