Is it cheaper to study in Canada or USA?

The cost of quality of education is one of the things that millions in America complain about. With over $1 trillion debt in student loans, studying in America is expensive. This has led many to wonder whether their neighbour to the north offers a better option. So, is it cheaper to study in Canada than in the US?

Studying in Canada is cheaper. The average tuition fee in Canada is CA$6,693 for locals and CA$33,623 for foreigners. In the US, students pay US$10,338 at public in-state and US$38,185 at private universities. There are expenses such as study permit and application fee, living costs, and insurance.

While that’s the average cost, other factors such as the residential or citizenship status of the student, place of study, and program will still determine how much you pay exactly. Here, we discuss whether it’s cheaper to study in Canada than in America and the additional costs for international students.

Cost of Education in Canada vs the US

Tertiary education in Canada is far cheaper than what obtains in America, although the quality isn’t far apart. Even though international students in Canada pay more than local students, they still pay lesser than American residents studying in private universities in America. This is one of the reasons why many Americans go to Canada for their undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The cost of education in the US is the lowest public colleges for state residents. In this case, such students pay around US$10,3308. Private universities and colleges in the US are the highest in the world as they cost US$38,185 on average. Public out-of-state universities in the country cost US$22,698.

In Canada, local students pay CA$6,693 and CA$7,472 for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees on average for the 2021/2022 session. International students pay a lot more, with the undergraduate program costing an average of CA$33,623. But postgraduate is a lot cheaper at CA$20,120.

Factors that Determine Cost of Studying

Beyond the clear difference in the cost of studying within the US and Canada, there are still internal factors that affect the cost. These factors include:

1.      Status of Students

As a student in Canada, whether you’re a local or international student will affect how much you pay as fees. In addition, studying within the province of residence could further lower the cost of education for local students in Canada. So domestic students enjoy the best of the Canadian education system. In-state students also pay the lowest fees in American colleges. But even international students attending top schools in Canada, such as the University of Toronto or the University of British Columbia, will still pay less compared to Americans attending Princeton or any other top university in the US.

2.      Program

Your program also affects how much you’ll pay. Undergrad programs are costlier than postgrad programs in most universities. Your course also comes into play here because courses in the STEM field are usually more expensive than those in humanities. However, if you take a course in management, business, or humanities, the cost is lower. Professional degrees such as medicine, law, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, and dentistry usually have the highest tuition for Canadian and international undergraduates. For postgraduate programs, the most expensive is the Masters of Business Administration. Executive MBA usually costs the most while regular MBA less.

3.      Place of Study

Another thing that could determine the cost of study in Canada or the USA is the location of your tertiary institution. The location of the university or college matters to an extent. Schools in popular provinces such as Ontario and British Columbia usually cost more than those in other locations. The same goes for attending Ivy League universities and other renowned schools in New York and California. The most affordable provinces for undergrad and postgrad programs in Canada include Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The cost of education in Quebec is also low. Of course, there’s no general fee structure for universities anywhere in the country, so you’ll find some less expensive universities and colleges in British Columbia and Ontario. States like Wyoming, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, and Georgia have the cheapest universities in the US.

Other Expenses for International Students

Apart from tuition, there are still additional costs that international students will have to bear either as part of their application process or during their studies. This includes:

1.      Application Fee

You’ll need to pay an application fee when applying to study at a university. First, you’ll need to pay an application fee. In the US, the average application fee is US$45 but some charge as much as US$100. In Canada, it varies from as low as CA$30 to as high as over CA$200. Of course, some universities and colleges don’t charge at all, and some give waivers in special conditions.

2.      Study Permit Application and Flight Tickets

Applying for study permits in Canada will cost you CA$150, while the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) in the US costs between US$180 to US$200 depending on the program. So, it’s more expensive to get study permits in the US than in Canada. There might still be additional costs you’ll have to bear during the Visa procedure. Once the visa is approved, the next step will be to travel, and the cost of that will depend on where you’re travelling from.

3.      Living Expenses

Living expenses in Canada and the US aren’t much different. But the US has a slightly higher cost of living which may influence everything. A lot will also depend on where you’re studying. For example, it’s impossible to compare living costs for a person studying at New York University with a person at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Thus, if your university is in a metropolitan area like Vancouver or Toronto, you can expect to spend more on living expenses.

4.      Health Insurance

While Canada has universal healthcare, this is only for permanent residents and citizens. So, international students have to make healthcare provisions. However, some provinces offer public health insurance for eligible students, and even in provinces where there is none, the institution makes provisions and adds it to the tuition fee. The insurance ranges from US$500 to more than $1,000.

In Conclusion

Attending university as an international student is quite expensive, no matter where you choose to go. But Canada is far cheaper than the United States while still offering high-quality education.

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