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Financial Aid

Financial Aid


While international students in Canada do not have the same access to scholarships and bursaries as students who are citizens or permanent residents, they still have access to a wide range of financial aid options to assist them with the costs of studying in Canada.


Financial aid granted for academic or extracurricular achievement is known as a scholarship, or sometimes a grant. Students who receive scholarships do not have to pay the money back. Scholarships may be offered by institutions, organizations, governments, or individuals.

Many scholarships entail an application process. Due to the wide range of scholarships available in Canada or in a prospective international student’s home country, it is important to research scholarships individually. Eligibility criteria and application process may differ widely — for example, some scholarships may require an essay or references from teachers or employers. Other scholarships may be based solely on grades, sporting achievements, or other extracurricular activities.

Prospective international students are encouraged to refer to institutions directly to find out more about available options.


Financial aid granted on the basis of economic need is known as a bursary. As with a scholarship, students who receive bursaries do not have to pay the money back. Universities and colleges may offer bursaries to students who meet certain requirements. Students who apply for bursaries are usually required to undergo a needs assessment, and may have to provide information about their income, or their parents’ income. Applications may also be reviewed by a committee.


Depending on an international student’s eligibility for scholarships or bursaries, they may choose to pursue a private student loan with a Canadian bank instead. As the name suggests, these loan agreements involve specific interest rates and repayment schedules which students should heed closely, in order to avoid accumulating unnecessary debt.

Canadian banks often offer these loans with student-friendly interest rates and schedules, making them viable choices for international students who cannot pursue scholarships or bursaries.

Further Options

Individual institutions may offer further financial advice and resources for international students. Prospective international students are encouraged to contact universities and colleges directly to find out more about available options.

Most international students with a valid study permit may also work up to 20 hours off-campus per week during the semester, and full-time during scheduled breaks. Find out more about working in Canada while studying.