Thu | Jan 21, 2021

Immigration Corner | How much money do I need to study in Canada?

Published:Tuesday | January 21, 2020 | 12:00 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I read a recent article in which you spoke about living in Canada and how much money is required. I’m thinking of studying in Canada and want to know how much money I need to study in Canada. What proof do I need? My parents here in Jamaica and my aunt who lives in Canada will be helping me. I was also planning to work part-time to support myself. What proof do I need to provide?


Dear JE

International students who are considering applying for a study permit to come to Canada should ensure that they have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, educational supplies, and living expenses for the length of time that they intend to study in Canada.

The tuition fee varies depending on the course that you intend to do. Most schools have a fee estimator application on their website which will highlight the tuition cost and all the other additional fees associated with your studies. You should use this application to assist you in determining the tuition associated with your studies.

What to consider?

The average annual cost of tuition fee for an international student ranges between CDN$5,000 and $12,000 per semester. An average approximate cost of CDN$20,000 per year for tuition and fees will be charged by the school. You must then factor in your living expenses. The cost will depend on the location of your school. Schools located in major cities and towns are usually more expensive.

Will you be living on campus? If accommodation is available at your school, the fees will be posted on the school’s website. If you are planning to live off campus, you should check the Internet to see the cost to rent a flat or apartment near your school. Some students also choose to rent a room with a family and share accommodations to reduce costs. Some students opt to live a few kilometres away from school, as the apartments near to the schools are usually more expensive. You should budget for at least CDN$10,000 for accommodation expenses for a year. Additionally, you should factor in food, clothing, transportation and other incidentals.

Students should therefore be prepared to clearly demonstrate that they can afford approximately CDN$20,000 for tuition fees, CDN$10,000 for accommodation and CDN$5,000 for incidentals. That’s a minimum of CDN$35,000 per year. For some individuals, their programme cost $10,000 per year, living expenses are $8,000 and incidentals CDN$2,000. Therefore, you will need to provide proof that you have CDN$20,000 per year, in savings and investments, to cover the cost of your studies for the period of time you will be studying.

The above figure is just an estimate and should be used as a guide only. Your costs could be less if you are living with a family member. If you will be living with your aunt, your aunt should provide a letter to say that you are living rent-free with her as this will reduce the amount of money you are required to show to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

While you are authorised to work up to 20 hours per week, you can use this as a basis of your application. You do not know when you will get that job or even if the pressures of relocating and studies will allow you time to work part-time. What you earn on a part-time basis should be treated as extra to cover incidentals, extra treats, or savings.

When to submit proof

You should have the tuition fee before even considering applying for a study permit. Once you have accepted into a programme, most schools require that you pledge your commitment to attending within three weeks of accepted. They usually require a deposit of the first semester fees to hold the space while you apply for your study permit. If your study permit is rejected, most schools return the deposit in full, while some may take an administration fee.

When you apply for the student permit, IRCC requires clear demonstration that you can afford to undertake the studies without being in financial hardship/or becoming bankrupt. If you are paying for your tuition, you will need a letter from a financial institution showing that you have the funds in your bank account. If your aunt or parents are paying the fee, they should provide a letter indicating that they are responsible for your fees and provide a bank statement to show that they have the required funds. If they do not have the savings and are employed, then a letter from their employer showing the amount of money they earn should be submitted. There must be clear evidence that they can afford to pay your expenses and cover their own personal living expenses, without experiencing hardship.

I recommend that you contact a Canadian Immigration lawyer to find out more about how to qualify to come to Canada and the additional requirements to do so. You may visit our website at to book an appointment to discuss the finer details of your case we also provide money saving guides on how to do well at school and steps to living permanently in Canada.

Deidre S. Powell is a Canadian immigration lawyer with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Send your questions and comments to Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, or via