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How to Study in Canada for Free in 2024 ?

Updated on 25 March, 2024

This article delves into comprehensive strategies and fully-funded international scholarships to help aspiring students embark on an extraordinary academic journey free from the financial burden of tuition fees. It will help you uncover the pathways to access Canada's free education opportunities and pave the way for a promising and bright future.

Read More: Diploma or Degree: Which is better in Canada?

Canada is undeniably a sought-after destination for international students aspiring to study abroad. It is renowned for its exceptional education, ranking 7th globally. Boasting top-notch institutions, excellent academic programs, and promising career prospects after graduation, Canada provides an unmatched experience. However, the question remains, is education free in Canada? 

The reality is that while universities do not provide free education in Canada, numerous options are available that can offer tuition-free education or, at the very least, alleviate the financial burden.

Below are such alternatives:

Read More: What is the Student Direct Stream in Canada?

1. Scholarships

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The Canada hosts the largest number of international students from across the world. Over the past few years, it has become one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad. Reasons such as best-ranked institutions, excellent support facilities, flexible academic environment, and cultural diversity contribute to making it the most preferred destination amongst students planning to study abroad.

The costs associated with living and studying abroad often pose challenges for numerous students. However, for international students, it is possible to gain free education through fully-funded international scholarships in universities in Canada, which serve as a lifeline by alleviating the financial burden. Read on to know more about such scholarships for international students.







University of Toronto



Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship

It is granted to outstanding international students who demonstrate exceptional academic and creative achievements. This exclusive award is available only for first-entry undergraduate programs at the University of Toronto, with a yearly selection of 37 students.



It includes full coverage for four years of tuition, books, incidental fees, and residence support.



University of British Columbia 

Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award

The scholarship is given to academically outstanding international students from impoverished or war-torn regions, providing much-needed financial assistance.





York University

International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction


It is granted based on the student's academic performance and scores.

An annual award of CAD 35,000 for a maximum of four years, summing up to a total of CAD 140,000.


University of Manitoba

International Undergraduate Student Entrance Scholarships

The scholarship recognizes academic excellence among international students graduating from international high schools and enrolling at the University of Manitoba.

The value of each award is determined annually in tiers according to high school grade averages.

Source: University Website

2.Tuition Waivers

Tuition waivers are instrumental in facilitating access to high-quality education at Canadian universities and colleges, allowing students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their academic aspirations without undue financial burden. 

Wondering how they differ from scholarships? 

Tuition waivers are typically granted by the institution or government and are often based on financial needs or specific criteria established by the institution. On the contrary, scholarships are awarded by various organizations, institutions, or individuals and are based on factors such as academic excellence, talents, or achievements. Scholarships may cover tuition fees, living expenses, or other educational costs and are applicable to students at different institutions or universities.

Now that you have understood the difference between tuition waivers and scholarships, the subsequent cases are presented below to provide you with a more distinct comprehension of the situations in which they are granted:

Financial Need: Tuition waivers are granted to students who demonstrate a financial need, especially if they lack parental assistance or have parents with income below a certain level.

Employment Benefits: Full-time employees of the institution where they plan to study may receive subsidized or free tuition through a tuition waiver.

Academic Excellence: Exceptional students may qualify for a full or partial tuition waiver, depending on their school's assessment of their performance

3. Hybrid Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms offer substantial financial benefits to students through virtual programs. Studying from home eliminates costly relocation and commuting expenses, while virtual courses grant access to digital resources, reducing textbook expenses. 

One such platform is upGrad Abroad which offers a distinctive portfolio of study abroad programs delivered in a hybrid model, providing learners an exceptional chance to harness the power of online education with flexibility and cost-effectiveness. With a seamless transition from online to on-campus learning in prestigious universities abroad, these hybrid programs create an efficient path to enhance career prospects while optimizing the return on investment. 

4. Working While Studying

As bills accumulate and the expenses of studying abroad can be challenging, working part-time while studying becomes a valuable strategy to ease the financial load. Fortunately, the Canadian student permit allows part-time work during the course, providing an excellent opportunity for students to earn while they learn. Students can work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during breaks and holidays, making it easier for them to manage their expenses and even explore the possibility of studying in Canada for free through their earnings and scholarships.

5. Vocational Education

Vocational education in Canada opens a promising avenue for international students to ease financial stress. Practical and specialized training in various industries equips students with valuable skills that enhance employability and income prospects. The emphasis on hands-on learning and industry-relevant knowledge often leads to quicker job placements, enabling students to start earning sooner and offset educational expenses. Co-op or internship opportunities are available in many vocational courses, offering valuable work experience and potential income during studies. With shorter durations compared to traditional university degrees, vocational programs typically have lower tuition fees, making them a more cost-effective option for many students. 

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Read More: Canada Post Graduation Work Permit Eligibility

List of Low-Cost Canadian Universities and Colleges

Tuition fees in Canadian universities can be exorbitant, excluding living expenses like accommodation and transport. Scholarships are competitive, so consider applying to affordable Canadian universities offering quality education without high costs. Below are a few low-cost Canadian universities for international students:


Average Tuition Fee (CAD)

MacEwan University

7,200 - 9,600/year

University of Regina


University of Winnipeg


Acadia University


Mount Allison University


Source: University Website


In conclusion, the prospect of studying for free in Canada in 2024 offers a transformative opportunity for students worldwide, encompassing a range of scholarships, grants, and bursaries designed to make higher education accessible and affordable. This complete guide underscores the importance of early preparation, meticulous research, and tailored application strategies to tap into the wealth of financial support available. Canadian institutions, along with governmental and private organizations, are committed to attracting talented international students, recognizing the value of diversity and global perspectives in the academic community. By leveraging these financial aid options, students can overcome the financial barriers to education, allowing them to focus on their academic and professional growth. As Canada continues to be a preferred destination for quality education, understanding how to access these opportunities is crucial for students aiming to study in Canada in 2024 without the burden of tuition fees.

More Resources to Read About Canada:

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Is it possible to study in Canada for free?

Generally, Canadian universities do not offer tuition fee waivers. Therefore, it is not possible to gain free education in Canada. However, some Canadian universities offer fully funded scholarships for international students. Examples of such universities are the University of Toronto, University of Alberta, etc. 


How can I get a full scholarship in Canada?

Canadian universities grant fully funded scholarships to international students based on specific criteria. If you meet the criteria, you automatically become eligible for the scholarship. However, if not, you can apply for the need-based scholarship before the deadline of your chosen university. 


Yashita Sinha

An aspiring writer making the most out of every opportunity and growing from challenges on the way. Yashita is a mass communication graduate who has tried her hands on freelancing, worked as a creative content writer and has now stepped into the corporate

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