How to Study in Canada for Free

There is a compelling reason why many college students aspire to study in Canada. In fact, Canada is now the third country with the highest number of international students, trailing only behind Australia and the USA. Some individuals who have matured and graduated from their respective colleges or universities might say, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have studied in Canada.”

Why wouldn’t someone want to study in this country? Is it because of their excellent education system, where five of their universities rank among the top 100 globally? Or is it due to their low unemployment rate of 4.9% as of July 2022, or perhaps because of their high minimum wage of $15.55 per hour, which is expected to increase?

Even U.S. News and World Report stated that Canada was the best country for quality of life in 2021. Thus, you won’t just benefit from good academics; you’ll also enjoy a beautiful life with your friends. It’s worth noting that out of every five people in Canada, two are international citizens, so you have a very high chance of meeting people from your own country.

However, exceptional opportunities don’t come cheaply, and this is true for Canada. The tuition fees in the country are not exactly low, but they are the lowest among English-speaking nations. Having the opportunity to study for free at one of their top educational institutions means you have either already put in the work, or you’re ready to work very hard and be diligent in your studies.

In this article, we will help you understand if it’s possible to study in Canada without paying tuition, and how to study in Canada for free.

Can I Study in Canada for Free?

The simple answer is that there is no university in Canada where tuition is completely free. Germany is one of the countries that offer tuition-free education; in fact, 16 states in Germany have abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at public universities.

If you’re looking for a completely tuition-free university, then Germany should be at the top of your list, but be aware of the language barrier, which you may need to overcome.

As for Canada, the best way to study in the country for free is to excel in your studies and take advantage of fully-funded scholarship opportunities. There are also scholarships that are not fully funded, but you can apply for as many as possible and you might be surprised to receive something close to full tuition coverage.

Now that we have established that there are no free universities in Canada, let’s explore how to study in Canada without paying tuition or by paying very little.

How to Study in Canada for Free

We believe there are three major categories of people reading this article: undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduates.

Several factors come into play if anyone wants to study at any university for free, whether as an international student or a citizen of the country. Here are the guaranteed steps you need to take, and if diligently followed, you’re likely to find yourself studying for free in Canada.

1. Hard Work and Diligence

Indeed, you need to study diligently before you will be considered for admission and for any fully-funded scholarship. Your academic results will speak volumes about who you are and why any university in Canada would admit you and be willing to fund your education.

Consider this: in any field, as long as you produce respectable results, people will want to invest in you. The same applies to universities; if you have a strong GPA and excellent test scores, universities will likely consider you first. It’s also advisable to be involved in extracurricular activities such as volunteering, arts, sports, cheerleading, or chess, as these can enhance your chances of studying in Canada for free.

2. Apply Early

Applying early increases your chances of studying for free in Canada, as early applications mean the university board will start processing your admission smoothly, you face less competition, and they will release your decision letter as soon as possible. Remember, you’re not the only one applying for admission; in fact, hundreds of students are now seeking admission in Canada, both citizens and international students. Thus, the competition is increasingly tough.

Also, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) reported in 2019 that “early applicant acceptance rates increased by 9 percent in 2018 compared with those who took the regular decision route.”

You see, applying early gives you a significant edge towards being admitted and studying in Canada for free.

3. Apply for Canadian Scholarships

Scholarships are one of the best ways to study in any country for free. Most universities in Canada offer scholarships, many of which go unclaimed because people are unaware of them. If you applied for admission early, it allows the school to send your admission letter on time (if you were admitted), and this also enables you to apply for scholarships ASAP.

Most importantly, if you had good results and have participated in some extracurricular activities in your country, there are high chances you won’t need to apply for scholarships because most schools in Canada will enroll you in any scholarships you’re eligible for. Whichever scholarship they award you will come together with your admission letter or weeks after you accepted your admission.

4. Apply for Scholarships from Your Home Country

The advantage of seeking scholarships from your country is that you don’t need to wait until you’re admitted. Many organizations in your country might have award programs they issue to students who meet certain criteria.

Your federal government might even have programs to help their students study in Canada for free, and they could even cover all your tuition. So, you can start searching as soon as “NOW!”

5. Apply for Canadian Government Aid

The government of Canada offers some financial aid to both their Canadian citizens and international students, which can be in the form of scholarships, grants, or even student loan programs.

6. Applying for External Scholarships

External scholarships are financial aids that come from an organization outside of McGill. Some organizations, foundations, and businesses are interested in helping you graduate without paying anything or paying very little for your studies.

Just like most other scholarships, these organizations have criteria you must meet before they can award you these scholarships, one of the criteria might even be for you to come and work for them once you’re done with your studies, which is actually great.

Also, make sure to fill out the application and submit it on time, along with all requirements. If you’re going for these external scholarships, you should know that they are annual, meaning you need to apply again the next year, and again, the following years.

These organizations or businesses want to ensure you’re maintaining or improving your standards.

Moreover, although this is one of the ways to study in Canada for free, be careful which organization you apply to because scammers always take advantage of these opportunities to dupe students of their money. Instead, focus on external scholarships offered through McGill.

7. Apply for Student Loans

This is not one of the best ways to study in Canada for free, but it can be a good option when other options have failed. Also, you can now apply for a student loan in Canada without a co-signer (a co-signer is someone who will take full responsibility to pay back the loan if the borrower fails to do so).

To get an international loan in Canada, you must meet a private lender, but you should know you need to meet their requirements too.

8. Work While Studying

According to, international students in Canada with a study permit who are enrolled full-time in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), can work off-campus without a work permit. That means you can work in any company in Canada as a student, and you’ll be able to use your earnings to fund your education, other school costs, and possibly your accommodation too. This is not a very easy way to study for free in Canada, but it’s best for those who are ready to put in the work and also study for their degree.

In addition, you can even choose to work on-campus; there are some part-time jobs that different schools offer.

9. Apply for Affordable Colleges in Canada

If you’re not able to study for free in Canada, you might consider one of their more affordable colleges. You might be surprised to find that you can afford them. Normal universities in Canada charge tuition from CAD 20,000 and above, but these more affordable colleges can charge between CAD 3,000 to CAD 15,000, depending on the degree.


As you can see, how to study in Canada for free largely depends on your academic performance and your extracurricular activities. But if you don’t have these, you can still apply for other scholarships and financial aid, or if necessary, loans.

There should be a way to study in Canada if you’re willing to put in the effort, and never forget that there are plenty of scholarships that go unclaimed every year in Canada.

Moreover, if you have a better option to study for free in this country, or if you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comment section.

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