5 Cheapest Universities in Canada — Tuition Fees and Living Costs

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Anand Patinge

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Indian students love to study in Canada. Here’s proof:

  • 67,000 Indian students received approval to study in Canada in the first four months of 2021 alone. The percentage is 83% higher than all of 2020.
  • The Canadian government offered 217,410 study permits to Indian students, setting an all-time record for the country. 
  • Study-permit approval rates shot up to 74% between January to April 2021. The percentage was 49% in 2020.

Why the craze to study in Canada? Here are three key reasons:

  1. Canada houses 6 universities that are featured in the top 500 universities on the QS World University Ranking 2022. The universities are the University of Toronto (QS World University Ranking 26), McGill University (QS World University Ranking 27), the University of British Columbia (QS World University Ranking 46), Université de Montréal (QS World University Ranking 111), the University of Alberta (QS World University Ranking 126), and McMaster University (QS World University Ranking 140). 
  2. The Canadian government allows international students to work up to 20 hours a week on or off campus. Furthermore, international students can apply for up to 3 years of post-study work permits based on their program duration as well.  
  3. The U.S. News featured Canada as the 4th safest country in the world.  

However, studying in Canada can quickly poke a hole in your pocket. You must pay up to CA$56,328 a year in tuition fees. Furthermore, you must pay up to CA$10,000 a year in food, accommodation, and living costs as well.

Choosing the most affordable universities in Canada can ease up your financial burdens. However, now you have questions. What are the cheapest universities in Canada? What costs you must bear to study at those universities? This article will offer you the answers.  

In the next seven minutes, the article will discuss all about the 5 cheapest universities in Canada

However, before you figure out which are the most affordable universities in Canada, you must decide on your preferred universities. A difficult decision to make when you have to choose from hundreds of universities, especially when 6 of these universities are featured in the top 500 universities in the QS World University Ranking 2022. 

You can feel overwhelmed. You might need more information. However, the only sources you have are your uncles who passed out thirty years ago and the random blogs on the internet with half-information (or worse, misinformation). 

Should you trust these sources? We all know the answer.  

That’s when you need reliable sources of information.

That’s when you need AI by your side.

That’s when you need SelectRight.

More on SelectRight later. Back to discussing the 5 cheapest universities in Canada for now.

Note: the information is true at the time of writing. That’s September 2022.

Cost University of Alberta University of Ottowa University of Guelph Simon Fraser University  University of Calgary
Tuition Fees CA$ 10,260 CA$ 25,554 CA$ 35,467 CA$ 12, 125 CA$ 12,696
Food and Accommodation CA$ 2,672 CA$ 16,996 CA$ 12,021 CA$ 13,904 CA$ 17,925
Books and Course Supplies CA$ 3,500 CA$ 550 CA$ 1,000 CA$ 1,920 CA$ 1,000

5 cheapest universities in Canada

  1. University of Alberta

University of Alberta

One of the cheapest universities in Canada, the University of Alberta is famous for being highly research-intensive. Furthermore, the university is most popular for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and English Language and Literature. 

The university offers over 500 graduate programs with over 250 specializations and 300 research areas. Furthermore, the university houses 41,000 students at five separate campus locations. 

The university boasts of an over 90% employment rate.   

The Times Higher Education ranked the university in 6th place in Canada. Furthermore, Quacquarelli Symonds ranked the university in the 4th place in Canada.  

Tuition fees CA$ 10,260
Accommodation  CA$ 1,200
Books and supplies CA$ 3,500
Transportation CA$ 180
Total CA$ 15,140
  1. University of Ottowa

University of OttowaThe University of Ottowa – one of the cheapest universities in Canada – houses 40,000 students from around the world. The university offers academic programs at the UG and PG levels in English and French languages.

The university offers an Academic GPS program in which students can have live chats with mentors. Furthermore, students can join workshops and study groups and take writing help both from peers and mentors.

The faculty guides the students with course selection and registration. Furthermore, the university offers students a chance to conduct research in areas such as STEM, technology development, public policy, and artificial intelligence, among others.

Tuition fees CA$ 25,554
Accommodation  CA$ 5,105
Books and supplies CA$ 550
Transportation CA$ 765
Total CA$ 31,974
  1. University of Guelph

University of Guelph

One of the cheapest universities in Canada, the University of Guelph offers multiple academic programs including bachelor’s, Master’s, doctoral, and diploma programs.

Furthermore, the university offers research-intensive programs in fields such as hospitality and tourism management, life science, and veterinary medicine.    

The university houses 29,507 undergraduate and graduate students out of which 1,700 are international students coming from over 130 countries. Furthermore, the university has 185,000 alumni in over 160 countries.  

The university has three campuses and seven colleges.

Tuition fees CA$ 35,467
Accommodation  CA$ 7,930
Books and supplies CA$ 1,000
Transportation CA$ 1,000
Total CA$ 45,397
  1. Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University houses over 30,000 students coming from over 150 countries. The university is globally recognised for innovation and research. 

Furthermore, the university has three campuses located in the largest municipalities of British Columbia – Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey.

The university is the only Canadian university whose varsity athletes compete in the NCAA. Furthermore, the university offers a fitness centre, aquatics centre, 

Tuition fees CA$ 12, 125
Accommodation  CA$ 3,224
Books and supplies CA$ 1,920
Transportation CA$ 99
Total CA$ 17,368
  1. University of Calgary 

University of Calgary 

The university offers over 170 degrees across more than 250 graduate and undergraduate programs which are taught by 14 faculties. The university houses over 33,000 students among which 6,000 are graduates and 26,000 are undergraduates.

The University of Calgary has a 95% undergraduate retention rate and a 94% graduate retention rate. 

The university conducts regular events on varied subjects such as graduate college calls, child health and wellness, and managing stress and anxiety. 

The university has 5 campuses – Main campus, Qatar, Spyhill, Foothills, and Downtown.  The university boasts of an employment rate of 94%.

Tuition fees CA$ 12,696
Accommodation  CA$ 1,041
Books and supplies CA$ 1,000
Transportation CA$ 1,000
Total CA$ 15,737

However, even after knowing all about the 5 cheapest universities in Canada, you might still feel overwhelmed. You might have questions. You might be unsure about which most affordable universities in Canada you should choose.

That’s when SelectRight comes to your rescue. At SeclectRight, we offer:

  • A University Finder Widget that allows you to download the program details of the top 500 universities with information such as the correlation between exam scores and the education loan interest rate, ROI calculations, and loan probability.
  • Expert guidance on each step of your application processes such as LOR review, SOP review, and application. 
  • A series of webinars sharing how to short universities and reach out to and interact with the alumni from universities.        

Want to know more? Please drop us a mail at [email protected] to strike a conversation with education and finance advisors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What are the cheapest universities in Canada?

Answer: Five of the cheapest universities in Canada are:

  1. University of Alberta
  2. University of Ottowa
  3. University of Guelph
  4. Simon Fraser University
  5. University of Calgary

Question 2: How much must I pay to study at the cheapest universities in Canada as an Indian student?

Answer: Expect to pay up to CA$56,328 a year in tuition fees. Furthermore, expect to pay up to CA$10,000 a year in food, accommodation, and living costs as well.  

Question 3: How can I study in Canada if I don’t have a huge income?

Answer: Your best bets are:

  • Choose one of the most affordable universities in Canada
  • Get a scholarship
  • Get an education loan 

Question 4: Can I get any scholarship or financial aid to study at the cheapest universities in Canada as an international student?

Answer: Yes. International students receive scholarships and financial aid to study at the cheapest universities in Canada from the government, organizations, and the universities themselves.

Question 5: Which are the most affordable universities in Canada for international students?

Answer: It’s difficult to pinpoint the most affordable universities in Canada for international students. We have listed the 5 cheapest universities in Canada in this article. 

Furthermore, check out these 5 most affordable universities in Canada:

  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Winnipeg
  • Brandon University
  • Concordia University
  • University of Saskatchewan 

Cheapest universities in Canada — SelectRight helps you choose

We have gathered all the information on the X cheapest universities in Canada in this article. However, you might still have questions. You might still be confused about which one of these most affordable universities in Canada you should choose. You might still find the task overwhelming. That’s when you need additional help.

You can’t rely on the information you receive from your relatives who passed out decades ago or from a half-informed (or worse, misinformed) blog written by a stranger who has read 5 other similar blogs.

That’s when SelectRight holds your hand to guide you the right way. At SelectRight, we offer:

  • Unbiased and personalised university recommendations based on analysing more than 6 million data points across over 10,000 STEM, MBA, and CS programs.
  • A buzzing education-advice Discord channel sharing university-specific experiences from current students and daily actionable tips.
  • An Instagram page offering virtual campus tours, live sessions with both current students and alumni of reputed universities, and exclusive GradRight events and scholarships.

If you want to know more, drop us a mail at [email protected] to talk to our education and finance advisors.

We hope the information shared in this article will help you in choosing the most affordable universities in Canada.

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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