Canada is a popular destination for international students looking to further their studies. In fact, in the three years before the pandemic, Canada welcomed more than half a million international students annually (Source: Statista). Students choose Canada because it's a safe and non-discriminatory country that offers high-quality education and opportunities for individuals from around the world. So, for international students who want to study in Canada, all that's left is to figure out how to finance their studies.  

5 Ways to Finance Studies in Canada as an International Student 

Author: Stephanie Ford at Obiter Marketing

Study in Canada on a Scholarship for International Students 

A scholarship offers financial aid for students to further their education. For international students looking to study in Canada, the available scholarships range from hundreds to thousands of dollars or, in some cases, cover the entire cost of tuition and student fees. The funds you receive through the scholarship do not need to be repaid (so long as you meet the scholarship requirements).  

Scholarships are often awarded based on outstanding academic scores, leadership potential, or the particular area of study or career path. International students may also receive scholarships because of their race, gender, religion, or family history.  

Being awarded a scholarship can be a lifeline for students who may not otherwise be able to afford the international student fees to study in Canada. For others, a scholarship in Canada recognizes and celebrates their academic or other achievements. Whatever your reason for applying, receiving a scholarship to study in Canada as an international student can be life-changing.  

Generally, scholarships are awarded by the Canadian Government, privately through foundations or other entities, and by the individual universities and colleges directly. Here are some resources with information on scholarships for international students:  

Canadian Bureau for International Education 


Top Universities 

Self-Funded or Funded by Family 

International students who wish to study in Canada need money for more than just tuition. To be successful in receiving a study permit, students must also show proof that they can afford the living expenses in Canada. The exact amount required depends on where you intend to study and any accompanying family members. But the minimum requirement to receive a study permit is $10,000 CAD for living costs plus the fee for one year of tuition (this varies depending on the selected program of studies). 

Many international students choose to work in their home country to save money to fund their education in Canada. This can take many years, but international students recognize that their hard work can open doors to opportunities in Canada.  

Others are funded by their family members who are in a better financial position to support their children and help them become an international student in Canada. There are many reasons family members choose to help hopeful international students study in Canada. Some family members want their children to have greater access to opportunities and recognize that education in Canada can open more doors for their loved ones. Others wish to immigrate to Canada themselves and plan to do so after the international student works to attain permanent residency in Canada. Others still simply value Canada's high-quality life and education and want the best for their loved ones.  

Work While You Study in Canada 

Depending on the conditions of your study permit, you may be able to work in Canada to support yourself financially while you study. If your study permit includes a condition that you can work on or off-campus and you meet the other requirements, you may work in Canada without a work permit after you start your study program.  

Working On-Campus While You Study in Canada 

You can typically work on-campus as a full-time international student in Canada if you have started studying while holding a valid study permit and you have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You can work as many hours as you'd like to on campus.  

Working Off-Campus While You Study in Canada 

You can work off-campus without a work permit while you study in Canada if you:  

  • Are a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)  

  • Have enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program 

  • Will be completing a study program that is at least six months long and leads to a certificate, diploma, or degree upon completion  

  • Have started studying, and  

  • Received a Social Insurance Number (SIN)  

If you meet all of the above requirements, you can work up to 20 hours per week off-campus during regular school semesters. During scheduled breaks or holidays, you can work full-time. However, working too many hours in a week is considered a violation of your study permit conditions and can result in you losing your student status. You may also need to leave Canada. So, you must track your hours carefully if you plan to work while you study in Canada.  

Internships and Co-op Placements 

You will need to get a work permit if your university or college program includes a co-op or internship placement.  

International Student Loans 

A student loan is a type of loan that helps students pay for post-secondary education, including tuition, student fees, books and supplies, and living expenses. You must pay the loan back later, as well as any interest that has accrued on the loan. The amount of interest payable will depend on the terms and conditions of the loan, so it's best to check with your bank or private loan provider to confirm the interest rates.  

As an international student, you can borrow money either in Canada or through an institution in your home country. If you're looking for a loan provider in Canada, you might consider any of the reputable private banks or credit unions.   

Student Line of Credit 

A line of credit is a type of loan that lets you borrow money up to a predetermined limit. For example, a student line of credit for international students might make up to $15,000 per year available to a student coming to Canada to study. That student can then withdraw (and borrow) that money throughout the year to finance their living expenses and costs associated with studying. The borrowed money, as well as interest, will need to be repaid. Interest rates on student lines of credit are often lower than other loans, though this will depend on the lender's terms and conditions.  

Again, you may apply for a student line of credit in your home country or in Canada. If you choose to apply in Canada, the lender may wish for your loan to be co-signed by a Canadian. 

Do you want to apply to become an international student in Canada? You CANDO it!  

Find out more about studying in Canada here.