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Scholarship opportunities for international students in Canada

Pursuing a university or college education in Canada can open many career opportunities, but unfortunately, tuition is often expensive. Depending on the institution and program, tuition fees alone can run into tens of thousands of dollars per year. Additionally, international students in Canada typically spend between $27,000 CAD and $64,000 CAD annually on living expenses.

Fortunately, many fully-funded scholarships are available to help international students manage the costs of post-secondary education in Canada. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of some of the top scholarships for newcomers that can help you achieve your academic goals in 2023 and beyond.

In this article:
  • Undergraduate scholarships for international students
  • Graduate scholarships for international students
  • Where to find more information about scholarships for international students in Canada
  • Other ways to fund your university or college education in Canada

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships

The University of Toronto offers a scholarship program for international students who have demonstrated exceptional academic potential, creativity, and leadership. Each year, approximately 37 international students receive this scholarship.

Eligibility: To qualify, you must be an international student (a non-Canadian requiring a study permit), currently in your final year of secondary school, or have graduated no earlier than June 2022, and begin your studies at the University of Toronto in September 2023.
What it covers: The scholarship covers tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residence support for four years.
Other criteria: To become a Lester B. Pearson Scholar, you must be nominated by your school and apply for undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto.
For more information on the application process, visit the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships .

University of British Columbia International Scholars Program

These scholarships are awarded based on both merit and financial need. UBC offers 50 scholarships each academic year, divided into four categories: the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award, the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award, the International Impact Award, and the Vantage One Excellence Award.

Eligibility: To be eligible, you must be an international student with a Canadian study permit, entering UBC from a recognized secondary school or transferring from your first year at another college or university. You must have graduated from high school no earlier than June 2022 and be applying for your first undergraduate degree. Additionally, you must demonstrate a level of financial need that would otherwise prevent you from pursuing a degree at UBC.
What it covers: The awards are based on need, with UBC dedicating approximately $10 million CAD annually to the 50 recipients in the program. Recipients also gain access to unique learning opportunities, annual retreats, dedicated advisors, and more.
Other criteria: You only need to submit one application, and UBC will automatically consider you for all awards for which you are eligible.

University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship

This program awards international students beginning their studies at the University of Calgary who have demonstrated outstanding achievements both academically and in extracurricular activities. Currently, this scholarship is awarded to two students each year based on merit.

Eligibility: To qualify, you must be an international student registered full-time in an undergraduate degree program at the University of Calgary starting in the Fall 2023 term. You must be a new student with a minimum GPA of 3.20 and meet the university’s English Language Proficiency requirement.
What it covers: The scholarship provides $15,000 CAD, renewable annually for the second, third, and fourth years at the University of Calgary, provided you maintain a GPA of 2.60 or higher over a minimum of 24.00 units in the previous fall and winter terms. The total award amount is $60,000 CAD.

Graduate scholarships for international students

University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship

This program awards more than $2 million annually to full-time master's and PhD students at the University of Manitoba who have demonstrated academic excellence.

Eligibility: All students accepted into these programs without provisions are eligible to apply, regardless of citizenship, provided they have a minimum GPA of 3.0 at the time of admission.
What it covers: UMGF master’s awards are valued at $14,000 CAD per year for 12 or 24 months, with a maximum total of $28,000 CAD. UMGF doctoral awards are valued at $18,000 CAD per year for 12, 24, 36, or 48 months, with a maximum total of $72,000 CAD.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

This scholarship recognizes students enrolled in graduate studies at 19 publicly funded Ontario universities, including the University of Toronto, University of Guelph, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, Western University, and York University. Each award is jointly funded by the Province of Ontario (two-thirds) and the participating university (one-third).

Eligibility: International students who are studying or planning to study a full-time graduate program (master’s or doctoral level) at one of the 19 participating universities in Ontario with a valid temporary resident visa (student study permit) are eligible for OGS awards. The study permit must be valid as of the graduate unit’s OGS international application deadline. Applications are assessed on merit and must meet the criteria set by the participating universities.
What it covers: The OGS award is valued at $5,000 CAD per term. Recipients may receive $10,000 CAD for two consecutive terms or $15,000 CAD for three consecutive terms.

Where to find more information about scholarships for international students in Canada

This list of scholarships is not exhaustive, so it's essential to conduct your own research to explore additional opportunities! Begin by checking if your academic institution provides any scholarships specifically for international students that match your eligibility. You might also qualify for scholarships tailored to specific programs or offered independently, which can help you achieve your goal of studying in Canada. Resources such as EduCanada, StudentAwards.ca, and ScholarshipsCanada.com are excellent starting points to assist you in your search.

Alternative methods to finance your university or college education in Canada

While scholarships are valuable, they aren't the sole means to finance a post-secondary education in Canada. Even if you secure a scholarship, you may still need additional sources of funding.

International students have options such as student loans or lines of credit to finance their education in Canada. They may also qualify for student grants or bursaries provided by universities, colleges, and various organizations. Additionally, many international students opt to work while studying to cover living expenses in Canada.

Studying in Canada as an international student can be costly. However, the Canadian government and universities offer numerous scholarships to assist international students in pursuing their academic ambitions. This resource serves as a starting point for researching scholarship opportunities to finance your education in Canada.