Scholarships to Study in Canada: Your Guide to Financial Aid Options

Studying abroad in Canada presents incredible educational and cultural opportunities. However, the costs of international study can feel daunting. Fear not – there are numerous scholarship programs designed specifically for international students seeking to study in Canada!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll outline a variety of scholarship options available to help cover tuition, living expenses, and more. From eligibility requirements to application deadlines, we aim to equip you with all the information needed to find the perfect fit and make your dreams of studying in Canada a reality.


Let’s get started on your scholarship journey!

Understanding the Canadian Education System

Canada has a diverse post-secondary education landscape comprised of universities, colleges, institutes, and trade schools. It’s helpful to understand the differences before selecting a program of study:


Universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees spanning four years or more. Well-known research universities include the University of Toronto, McGill University, and University of British Columbia.

Colleges¬†focus on professional, career-oriented programs and typically take two to three years to complete. They award diplomas, certificates, and some bachelor’s degrees. George Brown College and Humber College are large colleges in Ontario.

Polytechnics/Institutes like the British Columbia Institute of Technology have a hands-on training approach in fields like engineering, health, and technology. Programs are one to three years.

Trade Schools provide vocational education, usually taking one year or less. They prepare students for jobs through apprenticeships and skilled trades certificates.


Be sure to research admission requirements and program lengths at the schools matching your interests and career goals. Getting clarity on your options early on can help streamline your scholarship search.

Major Scholarship Categories

There are various categories of scholarships available for international students in Canada. Understanding the distinctions will help target your applications effectively.

Merit-Based Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, such as high school grades. Quality criteria may also include leadership, community service, and extracurricular activities.

Need-Based Scholarships¬†consider a family’s financial situation and ability to pay. The amount granted helps fill the gap between a family’s contribution and total educational costs.

Field of Study Scholarships support students pursuing specific disciplines like science, technology, engineering, arts or healthcare. Subject expertise and research potential factor in strongly.

Diversity Scholarships recognize applicants from underrepresented groups or with diverse life experiences and perspectives to add value to the academic community.

Institutional Scholarships are offered directly by Canadian colleges and universities. Criteria and deadlines vary by school, so research individual websites for priority internal awards.

Let’s now explore some prominent scholarship programs open to international applicants at both the institutional and national levels in Canada.

Institutional Scholarship Programs

Most colleges and universities provide scholarship possibilities exclusively for admitted students. Here are a few examples to explore:

University of British Columbia International Student Tuition Award РUBC offers top international undergraduate students automatic entrance awards of $5,000 CAD renewable for up to four years of study. No separate application required.

McGill University Faculty of Engineering International Scholarship РFor top international engineering applicants, this renewable $10,000 CAD scholarship covers one or two years based on academic excellence.

University of Alberta International Baccalaureate Scholarship РIB diploma graduates entering first-year programs at U of A receive $2,000 Р$8,000 CAD depending on their final IB scores and subject choice.

University of Toronto National Scholar Awards¬†– U of T’s most prestigious awards, providing up to $80,000 CAD over four years for outstanding international students in any field of study.

York University Excellence Scholarship РYork offers high-achieving international first-year students $5,000 Р$10,000 CAD per year based on their admission average. No additional application needed.

Always check school websites under ‘Scholarships’ or ‘Financing Your Education’ for all internal funding details specific to international student applicants. Deadlines are often quite early.

National Scholarship Foundations

Several not-for-profit scholarship foundations in Canada contribute greatly to easing international student costs nationwide. Here are two especially notable options:

Schulich Leader Scholarships

This $100 million program is among the most prestigious and generous for STEM students worldwide. It awards $60,000 – $80,000 CAD over four years to 50 international students annually studying science, technology, engineering or math at 20 top Canadian universities.

The rigorous process considers academic achievement, leadership qualities, and a dedication to community service. Deadline is typically mid-October and decisions are released the following April.

Three To Be Scholarship Foundation

Three to Be’s goal is increasing diversity in technology. Its annual $80,000 CAD renewable scholarships assist 12 promising Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students enrolled in computer science or engineering university programs.

Criteria include academics, leadership demonstrated through service, and overcoming challenges based on identity or background. Applications for this Foundation open in late fall with a new cycle start each subsequent fall term.

National foundations represent a highly competitive source of multi-year support. While eligibility may focus your field or identity, the investment in your future is well worth a strong application effort despite long odds.

Provincial Government Awards

Individual Canadian provinces administer scholarship programs aiming to attract and enroll talented international students. Here are a couple examples:

Ontario Student Assistance Program

For full-time post-secondary students with demonstrated financial need, OSAP provides loans, grants, and work-study options. International applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or protected persons – or attending a designated school with a waiver.

OSAP awards up to $210 per week or $8,400 annually depending on income, family size, expenses, and provincial eligibility criteria. Funding assists with tuition, books, housing, food and transportation costs.

B.C. Government Tuition Waiver Program

This extensive initiative waives tuition for up to two years or, in some cases, the full degree program length. In exchange, students agree to work in B.C. for the same duration following graduation.

Fields supported include nursing, engineering, computer science plus others based on labor market demand. Selection considers academics, a statement of intent to work in B.C., and proof of funding for living costs.

Always research your applicable province thoroughly for assistance available to international students. Programs may aid families directly or make schools more affordable through tuition exemptions.

Additional Funding Sources

Beyond designated scholarships, international students have alternatives to fund an affordable Canadian education:

Private Sponsorships РChurch or community groups occasionally support global scholars pursuing values-aligned studies. Research local international student ministries or charities.

Crowdfunding Campaigns РWebsite platforms allow candidates to share their stories and goals, then crowd-source donations from interested supporters worldwide.

Student Loans РSome international applicants qualify for limited government or private education loans at lower interest rates than personal loans. Creditworthiness and citizenship factors apply.

School Work Programs РOn-campus jobs provide income and Canadian work experience. Eligibility depends on student visa terms, but positions include research assisting, tutoring, administrative roles.

Personal Savings РStrong candidates financially sustain themselves and show independent ability to pay estimated costs not covered by other awards on their academic budgets submitted to institutions.

Remember, piecemealing resources from a combination of sources is realistic for funding an international education. With care and effort, affordable options do exist.

Preparing Strong Scholarship Applications

No matter the funding opportunity, following application best practices increases your chances of success:

  • Thoroughly review eligibility criteria and adhere closely to guidelines. Read tips and examples provided. Ask questions for clarity.
  • Draft, edit and proofread all materials thoroughly for spelling, grammar and flow. Have native English speakers review writing.
  • Emphasize both academic qualifications and personal passions through specific accomplishments and tangibly impactful experiences.
  • Ask recommenders well in advance for strong letters addressing what makes you stand out. Follow up to confirm submission.
  • Compile all required reporting-like transcripts, financial documents, and any portfolio work into organized electronic or paper packets.
  • Proof portfolio submissions carefully for professional presentation. Consider templates, resume guides, and cover letter workshops.
  • Apply as early as allowed to avoid being penalized in competitive review windows. Aim for well before published deadlines.
  • Follow up after submitting to confirm receipt and timeline. Politely inquire for updates if still being evaluated after expected award notification ranges.

With some planning and perseverance, the rewards of competitive scholarship assistance can be well within reach for dedicated international students wanting to further their education in Canada. Let your story shine through!

Looking Ahead: Develop Your Strategy

We’ve covered a comprehensive survey of funding prospects to support studying in Canada from scholarships to alternative sources of aid. Now it’s time to action plan:

  • Research programs of interest at Canadian schools to tailor eligibility. Shortlist top 2-3 choices.
  • Consult the financial aid offices at prospective universities to discuss your specific situation and fit.
  • Identify upcoming internal and external deadlines, then create a calendar working back from application periods.
  • Set interim milestone dates to draft content, request documents/letters,
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like