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High school graduate? Want to study in Canada. Know your budget!

Updated: May 1, 2023

There are so many different types of levels and study programs in Canada. In this blog post, we focus only on what’s available for high school graduates exploring diplomas and degrees. KEY POINTS 1. First, make sure the institutions you are exploring are Designated Learning Institutions or DLIs. This means they are recognized by Canada Immigration and if you study at a DLI you will get full privileges to work on and off campus and after graduation.

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2. Secondly, find out if the institution receives public (taxpayer) funding from the Province or Territory in which it is licensed. All institutions fall under a Province (10 in total) or a Territory (3 in total).

If the instititution receives public funding you can be sure it is reputable.

If it is private, you need to do more research - some private institutions are absolutely excellent, some are weak, and others are at least pretty good. 3. Make sure you are very clear on the costs.

Some institutions don’t make it clear on their website. They may post the cost for only one semester or a budget based on 80% of the full course-load instead of 100%. Some may not be clear on what extra fees must be paid. It is common that extra fees can cost about $2,000 Canadian although often this includes health insurance.

You need to know the total cost for a full-time program - how much is tuition and extra fees for one year and how many years is the program.

Generally, Bachelor degrees will be 4 years (8 semesters of four months) and Diploma programs will be 2 or 3 years (4 or 6 semesters of four months). Degrees are mostly at universities. Colleges usually have some Bachelor degree offerings but most of their programs for high school graduates will be diplomas. 4. Note that for institutions receiving public money, the fees they charge to Canadians and Canadian permanent residents (PRs) is strictly regulated but the fees they charge international students is not regulated at all. They can charge what they want. It is very common that institutions that charge very, very similar to Canadians and PRs will have a huge difference in what they charge international students. BUDGETING Even once the financing is in place for your program of study in Canada, the planning doesn’t stop there. There is still a lot to learn about earning money and saving money!

Are you aware of all the different sources of funding after you arrive? Does your institution offer opportunities to earn financial awards for academic achievement or extra-curricular contributions. Are there part-time jobs especially for international students?

How much do part-time jobs pay on-campus or in the city where you are studying?

How much can you earn in the summer recess?

Do you know how to budget? What does a dozen eggs cost or a dinner with friends?


At the Canadian University Application Centre, this is an important part of our guidance to make sure students and their families are suitably matched with an environment that fits their financial situation. Part of our assistance involves connecting students with those already in Canada to help get better prepared for money management issues.

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