Last Updated: March 16, 2021
Scholarships for International Students in Canada
All students who want to have a successful career can study in Canada without worrying about the cost of education. Besides imparting international level quality education, Canadian universities and educational institutions offer scholarships to international students to support their cost of education.
Scholarships are one way to finance your studies in Canada. Scholarships are a form of financial awards given to exceptional talents for exhibiting outstanding performance and to motivate them for further studies. Students do not have to repay this financial support as it is a reward for their academic achievement.
Who offers scholarships?
Scholarships can be awarded by universities and educational institutions. Besides them, the Canadian Government, Provincial Government, and several non-governmental (private and non-profit) organizations also offer numerous scholarship programs for international students.
Eligible courses and candidates for scholarship
The courses that can be pursued by seeking scholarship and the extent of scholarship in each course vary from one university to another so it can be checked online with a specific course in a particular university. Else, exact detail can be easily worked out in coordination with the financial aid office of the university to which you hope to take admission.
Scholarships can be applied for all levels of education like secondary, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate. Even a few certificate and diploma courses also offer scholarships for international students. These applied scholarships are usually based on an entrance test. Depending on the result you will be eligible for one of the two types of scholarships viz. full tuition fee or partial tuition fee. Seeking scholarship is a competitive task, but brilliant students have a good scope. Scholarships grant may vary from $1,000 to $1,00,00 depending on the university offering it, the course under consideration, its duration, and the academic record of the student.
Few scholarships (usually with high amounts) may be taxable, but most of them are non-taxable. It is important to precisely read scholarship details before applying for one. Additionally, each scholarship program caters to different disciplines. Students must check which scholarships are available for their discipline and which universities are participating in that program. It is preferred to do this check before completing the admission procedure in any university so that you can consider the university for your desired course keeping the scholarship factor in mind if financial support is expected. Also, ensuring your eligibility for any scholarship program is advisable considering factors like Canadian residency, non-residency, age, type of course, etc.
How to apply for scholarships?
As far as University scholarships are concerned, most of them consider students automatically which means that students do not have to apply to those scholarships. The students will be considered automatically based on their grades and other achievements. There may be some University scholarships, students may need to apply for directly to their University. You can coordinate with the concerned department at the University. They will not only guide you about the various scholarships available inside and outside the university but will also explain the procedure, eligibility, and selection criteria for each scholarship. They may help you apply for the scholarship best suitable for you.
For scholarships not affiliated with the Universities, students can either apply directly to the scholarship programs or via a Canadian institution.
This application process can be initiated only once the student is enrolled completely in the course he is pursuing. You may have to submit a letter of recommendation from your college/teacher, your statement, and your academic record (mark-sheet / grades/transcript) with your scholarship application. For some scholarships, you may have to appear for an interview instead of an entrance test. Your university’s financial aid office will guide you through the exact procedure.
Popular Scholarship Programs
Below is a list of the most popular scholarship programs for reference for international students coming to Canada to pursue higher education. The list comprises scholarships provided by Canada overall, including government and university-based scholarships.
- Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship: The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is awarded by the University of Toronto to potential students who display outstanding performance in their academics. This scholarship is exclusively available to international undergraduate students, and it covers accommodation costs, books, incidental fees, as well as tuition costs for the entirety of 4 years. Moreover, the scholarship does not only consider the academic performance, but also the creativity and leadership qualities an individual displays.
- Carleton University Awards: The University of Carleton offers the Carleton University Award as a scholarship exclusively to international undergraduate students. The scholarship is awarded to students who portray an outstanding performance in regards to their academics; the scholarship covers their tuition fee cost for the whole duration of four-years.
- Dalhousie University Scholarships: This scholarship is awarded by the Dalhousie university for domestic, as well as international students. The scholarship is available for all degree levels and can be awarded to current students or prospective students.
- Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program: This program promotes admissions in Health / Natural Sciences / Engineering / Humanities / Social Sciences Research courses. The university / educational institution in which you are seeking admission will help you apply for this program. A student may get up to $ 50,000 per year for three years under this program for pursuing their doctoral studies. The candidate must have pro-active research potential in addition to an excellent academic record.
- Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships: Similar to the above-mentioned scholarship program, research fellows in the field of Health / Natural Sciences / Engineering / Humanities / Social Sciences are eligible for this fellowship program while pursuing their research at a Canadian Institution.
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships: This scholarship is awarded to International students who want to pursue a doctoral program in Canada. It is a 3-year program where the student goes through a rigorous curriculum under the mentorship and guidance of other scholars, mentors, and fellows. The student is also required to meet certain goals every year and also become fluent in English and French during this time period. Appropriate guidance and support are provided throughout.
- Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program This scholarship is primarily for MBA students and doctoral-level studies. Many top universities in Ontario offer this program. Similar to several other scholarship programs, this program is also merit-based.
- IDRC Research Awards: There is no competitive exam for this award. Usually, it is granted on the basis of academic record (preferably Master's, Ph.D., or Post-Doctoral Degree), skills, and experience. This program aims at inviting qualified candidates from developing countries to work on research programs with IDRC staff.
- Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program: This program provides a basic fund to students to meet initial living expenses in Canada for the first few months. The grant may go up to $ 10,000.
- Quebec Merit Scholarship, Anne Vallee Ecological Fund: and many other scholarship programs are in the list. Deserving candidates have many opportunities for seeking financial support for pursuing their education or research in Canada. The only care is needed to find astutely for a scholarship program in their discipline and university and apply with the complete form before the deadline of the scholarship grant. Full support by your university / educational institution can be expected by international students.
- FINCAD Women in Finance Scholarship: is offered by FINCAD to those women who are already pursuing a graduate Finance course in any nationally or internationally accredited institution. The scholarship is awarded to eligible women in the amount of US $10,000.
More information regarding Canadian scholarships
It is known to most that education in Canada is not cheap for international students. Higher education in Canada may be affordable for domestic students, but as it comes to international students the cost of tuition fee, accommodation, and miscellaneous things increase significantly. The reason for the same is unknown, but one thing can be surely said that any international student who is on a budget but would prefer to study in Canada, must get a scholarship or financial aid to their rescue.
Scholarships are preferable by most international students as most scholarships take care of their tuition fees and accommodation together. Some scholarships may even cover the travel costs for the students or reimburse the travel costs to the students, but these scholarships are quite hard to achieve as they require an impeccable academic record, and may want the international students to show outstanding performance in the selection process. Hence, aiming for scholarships that cover the tuition costs and accommodation is a better choice, since the universities cover the cost for the whole duration of the study.
That being mentioned, the scholarships mentioned above are popular. Hence, the competition for scholarships is difficult, to say the least. Moreover, the requirements for every scholarship are not the same. The requirements differ according to the nature of the scholarship. What it means is that, if a scholarship is provided by a university of the student's choice, the requirements will be academic-focused and would generally require an outstanding or excellent performance in the field of study. On the other hand, scholarships provided by government agencies will definitely require the academic achievements of a student, but would also look into the international student's home country. Therefore, choosing an ideal scholarship must be dependent on the resources that are available to the international student.
Most importantly, it is advised to apply to these scholarships early on. Ideally, an international student would apply for their desired scholarship(s), once the student receives the offer letter. The procedure for most scholarship programs is not very extensive, but as mentioned previously, the competition is tough. The earlier an international student is to apply and is awarded a scholarship, the higher the chances are to be selected. However, being an early bird is not the only criteria. An international student must check off all the requirements as well, which might secure their chances of being selected.