Financial Aid for International Students in Canada

A safe environment and affordable tuition have made Canada one of the most popular study destinations for international students for over a decade. The number of international students studying in Canada is expected to reach over 753,000 by 2023. [current data on international student statistics in Canada].

While studying and living in Canada, international students can experience incredible, vibrant, bustling cities. You may qualify for an international student loan if you’re an international student looking to study in Canada, but you need additional funding to afford this life-changing experience. 

International students can find different financial aid options from Canadian universities and colleges. If you would like more information on available options and the application process, you can visit university websites or contact the institution.

Here are the financial aid options for international students in Canada:


A scholarship or grant is a form of financial aid awarded to students for academic or extracurricular achievement. Students who receive scholarships do not have to pay back their money. Institutions, governments, organizations, or individuals can offer scholarships. 

It is essential to research scholarships individually due to the large variety of scholarships available in Canada and a prospective international student’s home country. Depending on the scholarship, eligibility criteria and application process may vary widely. 

For instance, some scholarships may require an essay or references from teachers or employers; others may be based solely on grades, sporting achievements, or other extracurricular activities. 

Popular scholarships in Canada for international students include: 

  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarship
  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship
  • Lester B. Pearson International Student Scholarships
  • Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award Scholarship
  • University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship


Bursaries are financial aid awarded to students based on their economic needs and don’t require repayment. Some colleges and universities offer bursaries to students who meet specific requirements. 

Students applying for bursaries usually undergo a needs assessment, which may include reporting their income or that of their parents. The Canadian and British government offers bursary awards as part of their financial aid programs. 

They differ from merit scholarships in that they are based on financial needs rather than academic achievement. Students can find appropriate bursaries with the help of academic advisors in colleges and universities’ financial aid departments.


Student loans are available to international students in the same way as Canadian citizens and permanent residents. As a result, international students pay the same interest rates and repayment schedules as Canadian citizens and permanent residents. 

Several banks offer separate loans, credit lines, and interest rates for international students; however, they may not be eligible for loans from provincial or federal governments. Aside from bank loans, students intending to study abroad may be able to apply for financial aid through the education department or ministry in their home country. 

International students can obtain financial assistance for their post-secondary education through the Canada Student Loans Program, which the federal government developed to make postsecondary education accessible to students who are financially challenged. 

Besides providing student loans, the federal government offers non-repayable grants through the Canada Student Grants Program. To coordinate the delivery of student loans and grants, the federal government works with most provincial or territorial governments. All provinces and territories, except Québec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, participate in the Canada Student Loans Program.

Universities in Canada That Offer Scholarships for International Students

Scholarships are non-repayable financial awards that international students can use to finance their studies in Canada. Generally, they are given to students who have achieved outstanding academic achievements, but some also recognize volunteers and work experience. 

Most scholarships available to international students studying in Canada are available at the postgraduate level and are limited and highly competitive. 

University of CalgaryInternational Entrance ScholarshipThe total amount over 4 years of the undergraduate program is $60,000.
University of WaterlooColonel Hugh Heasley Engineering ScholarshipsUp to $10,000 over eight academic terms.
University of TorontoLester B. Pearson International Scholarship ProgramN/A.
University of SaskatchewanDean’s scholarship$18,000 per year for two years.
University of British Columbia Outstanding International Student (OIS) AwardOIS amounts range from $2,500 to $10,000.
University of WinnipegWinnipeg President’s Scholarships for World LeadersThe President’s Scholarship for World Leaders are valued at $5,000.
York UniversityPresident’s International Scholarship of Excellence$180,000 over 4 years.
University of OttawaThe President’s Scholarship$30,000 ($7,500 per year).
Carleton UniversityChancellor’s Scholarship$30,000 ($7,500 x 4 years).
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