Scholarships for International Students

World is mine

Canada’s post-secondary institutions offer programs in a diverse array of disciplines and at all levels, from undergraduate to post-doctorate. Because Canada’s education system is also well funded and regulated, the quality is usually quite high. As a result of this, and because of Canada’s already diverse history, Canadian universities accept thousands of international students each year across all areas of study. Many of these students come from the U.S. because of its close proximity to Canada and because they share many common characteristics, including language. This article aims to help some of these international students determine what kind of financial aid is available to them and what kinds of scholarships for international students they may be eligible for.

The Basics of Scholarships for International Students

Looking from a worldwide perspective, China and India have the largest number of international students studying in other countries. In total, over 2.5 million students worldwide are studying outside of their home countries, with Canada being the third most common destination. With such a large population of international students, scholarships are important tools for helping to finance their educations.

Most students are familiar with scholarships, even if they don’t have any themselves. Essentially, scholarships are a form of financial aid issued by schools, private institutions, or third-party donors. They can be based on need, merit, or be specific to certain fields or levels of study, and others involve athletic or artistic merit.

Aside from these, there are other scholarships that help students of particular minorities, religions, or those who suffer from a disability fund their university or college education. Some scholarships require that, aside from attending a post-secondary program full-time, students also join a specific group or work at a particular job. This kind of scholarship will be looked at in more detail later in this article.

Scholarships for international students in Canada work much the same way as they do in other Western countries, in that merit and achievement are usually the prime factors that determine whether someone receives a scholarship. While there are still plenty of students who receive them, generally less focus is given to athletic scholarships. Additionally, recognized First Nations students receive full scholarships to most post-secondary institutions.

Specific Scholarships for International Students


Federal, provincial, or state issuers can award scholarships, including scholarships for international students, for various purposes and under a myriad of different conditions. Specific issuers include non-profit organizations, community and multinational foundations, charitable trusts, and volunteer organizations (provided that the student volunteers with them). As you might expect, funds provided by scholarships are only issued to students who are actually attending school, and so most of the time the school and scholarship issuer coordinate directly without ever involving the student in the actual distribution of funds.


We have compiled a non-exhaustive list of scholarships for Americans and other international students studying in Canada (and that are not associated with any one school) according to the Government of Canada’s International Scholarships website:

  • Canada-US Fulbright Scholarship (awarded for general academic merit)
  • Organization of American States Fellowships Programs (for students from countries across North America, including the U.S.)
  • CIFAR Global Scholars (for students in research fields)
  • CIHR Fellowship (for students in health research programs)
  • Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships Program (for natural science and engineering research students)
  • Mitacs programs, focused on research in business, science, and many other disciplines
  • Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research (for post-graduate health students)
  • The Trudeau Foundation offers merit-based scholarships for a variety of disciplines
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships are offered by the government of Canada and intended to support students pursuing doctoral degrees at pre-approved institutions

When you have applied to particular schools, you should be sure to notify them directly to see if they have any specific scholarships for international students or any general programs, like grants or bursaries, that you can take advantage of to provide extra financial aid.

Co-op and Internships

In addition to or instead of scholarships, some students choose to supplement their education spending by pursuing part-time work, which is often an option if certain conditions are met. There are also a number of internships and co-op programs available.

Students, both international and domestic, can receive the opportunity to enroll in co-op or internship programs as part of their school curriculum, depending on their program of study. These positions are considered international work experience and are therefore great to have as an enhancement to your degree. Some positions offer compensation, meaning that students can make money while going to school while also supplementing their education with real experience.

Like most scholarships for international students, these kinds of programs have various eligibility requirements in Canada. To be eligible for approved co-op and internship programs, students must:

  • Have a valid study permit (which you need to study abroad anyway);
  • The position you are applying for must be related to your discipline of study (a biology student can’t enroll in an arts co-op program, for example);
  • Your work must be approved as being eligible for and included in your academic program;
  • Your co-op or internship position can not take up more than 50% of your total program (you have to split your time on both school and work)

Applying for Scholarships for International Students

Overall, there is a fairly diverse selection of scholarships for international students that you can potentially use to help you fund your education abroad. Aside from student loans or personal savings, scholarships are one of the main options available for helping students pay for their education. Whether you decide to pursue a scholarship from the school you plan to attend or from a third party, remember that whereas student loans and bursaries are issued for students in financial need, scholarships are usually based on academic merit. They shouldn’t be considered a reliable source for school financing, but rather as a means of helpful support; if you’re hurting for ways to pay for your schooling, taking out student loans or applying for needs-based bursaries would be a more reliable solution.

Accommodation for Students


This article looks at a number of different options available as accommodation for students and the kinds of things you should consider before deciding on which to pursue.

Accommodation for Students Studying Away From Home

Part of going to university is experiencing new aspects of student life, including living on your own. While not all students move away from home to study, many do. For those students going to school far from home, university presents the first opportunity to live away from home for extended periods of time. Accommodation for students is an important consideration when moving away because finding the right option for you means looking at the costs involved, the distance from school, and the kinds of amenities available to you. Also, you’ll probably want to live with or near your fellow students to make the most of your student life. You should make sure you have a strong understanding of your options before you decide where you are going to stay.

The Various Options Available as Accommodation for Students

On-Campus Residence

Usually the most attractive option, on-campus residence provides students with housing on or near their respective campus. In most Canadian universities, first-year students have guaranteed residence placement if they choose to apply for it. This is meant to give these new students an opportunity to live close to school with their fellow students without having to worry about finding alternative housing in an unfamiliar city.

On-campus housing also allows students to ease into life on their own, as most residences have some form of food plan as well as laundry facilities and included utilities. Students also get to live with their fellow students, meaning they can make the most of the social aspects of university with people who are in the same situation.

This kind of accommodation for students can be pricey, especially compared to some of the other viable options students may be able to find. On-campus housing is best suited to first-year students, and returning students are often encouraged to find alternative accommodations.

Private Accommodation

After their first year, most students move to secondary accommodations, usually to a private residence or apartment farther away from campus. Whether they moved out of necessity (due to not being able to get into residence again), cost, or personal preference, students living off-campus have different options available to them, along with different things to consider.

The first consideration is cost. Because they will be paying for housing on top of tuition, as they did in their first year, students need to be mindful of how much they can afford to spend on their housing costs. Luckily, living off-campus affords you more control over your housing costs than living in residence. Because you aren’t necessarily tied down to one location, you can shop around for off-campus student accommodation and evaluate the amenities you want with what you are willing or able to pay. Another thing to consider is the added cost of living off campus: transportation, utilities, food, and entertainment. Off-campus housing means that, even when you are splitting your bills with your housemates (if you have some), you may be paying as much or more overall than you would if you were in residence.

Other Options

There are other, less common options available to students based on where they are studying. Some schools have off-campus residences that offer similar amenities as their on-campus counterparts. Many of these residences are reserved for specific students, like those in higher years, in specific programs, or in certain levels of study. Other schools, such as military colleges or academies, have mandatory communal housing, so students are usually given no other option.

International students can sometimes get special accommodations or enroll in special programs that help make sure they have a place to stay. Because these students are travelling from their home country to study, it’s even more important that they have adequate housing when they arrive.

Exchange Programs

There are special programs available that give university students the opportunity to study in another country as part of their program of study. For instance, international business students are sometimes given the option of spending their last year of study working in another country as a kind of practical experience. These programs give students access to accommodations out of necessity, and can be a great way to extend your experience outside of the classroom in a meaningful way. Of course, relying on this kind of system for accommodation is impractical at best, but students looking to move out of their current accommodations may find this option even more enticing.

Accommodation for Students: Making the Decision

Regardless of where you decide to stay, you should always be sure you pick the option that’s best for you. Whether you’re looking for social life, proximity to campus, or the most cost-effective residence, there is an option available for you. Finding accommodation for students is a matter of weighing your options and your budget and finding out what accommodations best meet your needs.