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Canada's Most Affordable Cities for International Students

Last updated: 27 February 2024 Student Finance Study in Canada

Studying in Canada is a dream for many international students, but the high cost of living in some cities can be a concern, especially when inflation is high and general expenses continue to rise. As an international student, you must consider tuition fees and other living costs, including the house rent or the on-campus living option, transportation costs, expenses on groceries, utilities and other recreational aspects.

Even though Canada has its fair share of expensive cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, other countries offer affordable living options, and we have highlighted some of them below, as well as the leading universities and colleges in the area,

Learn more below about the cheapest cities in Canada for international students. If you want to study in Canada, arrange a free consultation today.

affordable cities in canada for international students

Cheapest Cities in Canada for International Students

- Calgary, Alberta

While Calgary is generally considered more expensive than some other cities in Canada, it still offers affordable options for international students. The city provides a variety of housing choices, including apartments, shared accommodations, and homestays, at relatively reasonable rates. Calgary's vibrant economy and diverse job market can also provide opportunities for international students to offset living expenses through part-time work or internships.

- Kingston, Ontario

Kingston is located in Ontario, but it offers a significantly lower cost of living than Toronto and Ottawa, the other two major cities in the same province. The city provides a wide range of housing options at affordable prices, including apartments, shared accommodations, and student housing. Kingston's historic charm and proximity to major urban centers make it an appealing and affordable destination for international students seeking a quality education in Canada.

- Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is the largest and most well-known city in Nova Scotia. Around 25% of its population comprises students attracted to the city due to the lower tuition costs at good universities. The city also has an affordable cost of living, offering international students a budget-friendly option for pursuing their studies in Canada. Halifax also has a dynamic environment for start-ups, allowing students to take advantage of the job opportunities available. 

- Moncton, New Brunswick

Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick. It is known for its affordable cost of living, making it an attractive destination for international students who want budget-friendly options in Canada. The city generally has affordable housing options, including apartments, shared accommodations, and relatively low transportation costs. Moncton is a bustling small city with a welcoming community. Students prefer the city as it allows them to settle within months of graduation through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. 

- Montreal, Quebec

The province of Quebec, in general, is among the most affordable in the country, and the city of Montreal is no different. The largest city in the province, Montreal, is known for its relatively low cost of living compared to other major Canadian cities. It offers affordable housing options at competitive rates, including apartments, shared accommodations, and student residences. Montreal's pocket-friendly culinary offerings and robust public transportation system also contribute to its reputation as an affordable and student-friendly city.

- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Saskatoon is one of the most popular and largest cities in Saskatchewan and is known for its affordable cost of living, including housing, transportation, and daily expenses for international students. As living costs in major Canadian cities have increased tremendously in recent years, Saskatoon is being chosen by students more than ever as it has become one of the most affordable cities in Canada for international students. They can find budget-friendly housing options all over the city and must spend less on transportation and grocery bills.

- Winnipeg, Manitoba

Being the capital city of Manitoba, Winnipeg is one of the best options for students looking for affordable places. It has the third-fastest growing economy in the country but is recognized for its reasonable cost of living. The city offers various housing options at affordable rates, making it accessible for international students on a budget. Winnipeg's diverse cultural scene and recreational activities make it an attractive and affordable choice for international students seeking quality education at a relatively lower cost.

Average Tuition Fees in Canada

Generally, undergraduate programs range from CAD 20,000 to CAD 35,000 per year, while graduate programs typically range from CAD 15,000 to CAD 40,000 per year. However, tuition fees for professional programs such as MBA, law, and medicine can be higher, with some programs exceeding CAD 60,000 per year.

Specialized programs like engineering and technology may also have higher tuition fees. It's essential for international students to carefully research and budget for tuition fees and additional expenses when planning their studies in Canada.

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Where is the most affordable place in Canada for undergraduate study?

The most affordable place in the country for undergraduate study is often considered to be Winnipeg, Manitoba. With its lower cost of living than major urban centers, Winnipeg offers international students a budget-friendly option for pursuing higher education. The city provides affordable housing options, including apartments and shared accommodations, as well as relatively low transportation and everyday expenses. 

Where is the most affordable place in Canada for postgraduate study?

Moncton, in New Brunswick, is Canada's most affordable place for postgraduate studies. The city is renowned for its low cost of living for international students pursuing advanced degrees. With affordable housing options, relatively low transportation, and everyday expenses, Moncton provides postgraduate students an accessible and affordable environment to further their studies. 

What are the cheapest colleges in Canada?

Although Canada is known for its world-renowned universities, not all students can afford to study at prestigious institutions. However, there is no dearth of options for international students who wish to study in Canada, as several colleges offer undergraduate programs and diplomas in exciting fields of study. The most affordable colleges in Canada are:

What are the most affordable universities?

Students who wish to study at Canadian universities can find several that offer reasonable tuition fees and support services for international students. These include:

What is the cheapest rural place to live in Canada?

Brandon, Manitoba, is one of the most affordable rural places to live in Canada. It is a small city located in the southwestern part of the province and is known for its friendly community, picturesque landscapes, and relatively lower cost of living.

Where do most students live in Canada?

Vancouver is where most students live in Canada, as it has some of the best Canadian universities, including the University of British Columbia, which hosts more than 18,000 international students alone.

Where is the best place to live as a student in Canada?

Choosing the best place to live as a student in Canada depends on various factors, including your preferences, academic program, lifestyle, and budget. According to all these factors, some major cities you can consider include Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, and Waterloo. 

Which province in Canada is most student-friendly?

Several provinces in Canada are known for being particularly student-friendly due to their welcoming atmosphere, quality of education, affordability, and range of opportunities for both academic and personal growth. Nova Scotia and Ontario, specifically, are known to be student-friendly. 

Universities featured in this article:

  • University of Calgary
  • Mount Royal University
  • Queen's University
  • St. Lawrence College
  • Dalhousie University
  • NSCAD University
  • Crandall University
  • McGill University
  • University of Montreal
  • Concordia University
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • Suncrest College
  • University of Winnipeg
  • University of Manitoba
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