How to Study in Canada for Free

Canada is undoubtedly one of the best countries to go to college in the world, and there are lots and lots of reasons international students are trooping to this country for their higher education. Whether is for being the country with the best quality of lifestyle or having one of the highest minimum wages in the world at $13.50 which is even higher than that of the United States at $7.25.

Most importantly, the country has lots of the best schools in the world whether high schools or colleges. 6 of their colleges are ranked among the top 100 in the world. And the list goes on and on.

However, the whole list won’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have many funds to finance his/her academics in this country, they just want to know how to study in Canada for free, and nothing else. The good news is that there is hope, as long as you are ready to put in the work. Yes, it requires work from your side.

Moreover, if you intend to enroll for Ph.D. there are some free online programs that some Canadian universities provide which you can partake in from anywhere you are in the world.

Anyway, let’s see how possible to study in Canada for free.

How to Study in Canada for Free

It is 100% possible to study in this country without paying a dime in tuition. But, you should know that Canada doesn’t offer any free academics like Germany, one way or the other someone or an organization has to pay the fees.

Here are the steps you need to take to achieve this.

1. Study Hard

Yes, hard work pays in lots of things including your studies, and scholarships, especially merit-based scholarships are not awarded to students with poor grades. Those responsible for helping you study for free in Canada, whether the federal government or organizations want to make sure the student that will receive their funding is worth it.

That doesn’t mean if you don’t have good grades, you can’t still get financial aid, but you probably won’t get the financial aid that will cover all your tuition and other expenses like accommodation, living expenses, books, and insurance.

2. Apply Early

There are lots and lots of benefits of applying early to any school in Canada, first, it helps you to get your decision letter on time, which lets you know if you were admitted on time. Also, it helps the admission board to feel you have a serious interest in their school, so they will even consider you more than someone who applies a few weeks before the deadline.

Most importantly, it increases your chances of receiving scholarships which will help you to study in Canada for free. You should know that these scholarships have deadlines and because you applied early enable you to easily enroll in them.

3. Receive Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are one of the best ways – perhaps the best way – to study in Canada for free because you don’t need to apply for them in most colleges, to be awarded this scholarship. These scholarships mostly arrive together with your admission letter, because the school will enroll you in all scholarships you’re eligible for.

As I mentioned earlier studying hard is one of the ways to get this kind of scholarship, also when you are involved in some extracurricular activities like sports, volunteering, leadership positions, or even artistic work, you have a higher chance of being awarded scholarships.

4. Apply for Scholarships

If you weren’t awarded a merit-based scholarship, there are still other ways to study in Canada for free, you should apply for need-based scholarships in Canada. These kinds of financial aid don’t judge your academic prowess, but you will be awarded based on your demand for financial help.

There are many need-based scholarships for citizens, permanent residents, and international students such as; the International Leader of Tomorrow Award, Wehrung International Student Award, International Student Leader Award, etc.

5. Apply for External Scholarships

External scholarships are provided by organizations, NGOs, and businesses, but not by the federal government or the school. There are many places you can find external scholarships, it could be from your church, religious organizations, foundations your parents are involved in, the workplace they are working at, etc.

You can also check out these resources for external scholarships; Loran Scholars Foundation,, yconic, National Union of Public and General Employees, etc.

6. Apply for Scholarships from your Country

Some countries, especially developed countries help their citizens to study in Canada for free, they provide financial aid in the form of scholarships. But, you should know that if you’re applying for financial aid from your government, they also have the requirement you have to meet, and their T&C, which might include returning to the country to work.

7. Apply for Affordable Colleges in Canada

Even if you don’t get to study completely for free in Canada, you can still apply to colleges that are easy to afford. You can get colleges whose tuitions are from $7,000 to $12,000 for a bachelor’s degree, and $3,500 to $6,000 for a master’s degree.

Also, these fees differ based on your program and the college you choose.

8. Work as a Student

This might not sound so pleasant to some people, but it is surely another way to cater to your fees in Canada. But before you will be able to work in Canada, your study permit must report that you are eligible to work on and off campus, reported by their government.

So, you can decide to work a part-time job as a customer care, personal tutor, freelancer, dog walker, babysitter, etc.

9. Live on Budget

I know this might sound out of the topic, but this is one of the ways to manage your finances whether they are coming from scholarships, family, or your work. We will talk more about how to spend properly while in school, soon.

10. Take a Loan

This is not one of the best ways to study for free in Canada, I should warn you to only use this strategy as your last resort. Borrowing money comes with a lot of pressure, so make sure you have exhausted all scholarships, family funding, or working options before concluding with this.

Canadian government only offers loans to their citizens and permanent residents, so if you’re an international student, your loan option is only from private organizations, like businesses.

Now we have shown you how to study in Canada for free, let’s talk a little bit about ways you can cut your expenses in Canada.

How to Stay on Budget in Canada as a Student

According to, 74% of students told them they wished they had a better financial education before entering college, and that’s one of the things we want to help you with, in this section.

Cook Your Food

Cooking your meal goes a long way to save you lots of money when you compare it with eating outside always, and it’s even healthier to cook your meal too.

Reduce the Use of Credit Card

There are lots of debts you will get yourself into when you continue to use credit cards in school, rather, only use them when there is an emergency.

Shop at Second-hand Stores

You are a student, so you don’t need to be going for expensive luxuries yet, there are lots of quality products you can find in these second-hand stores that you can pay very low for.

Commute on Foot or Go Carpool

This is one of the ways to cut expenses as a student in Canada. If the grocery store is not far from you, you can trek to it, or you can join your neighbor in their car and go to school, this is even fun and helps you build relationships with others.


As you can see in this how to study in Canada for free guide, there are several ways you can study without paying a dime or paying a small fee. You just need to put in the work, and the result will follow.

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