The scholarships and bursaries available for new international students in Canada

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: January 21, 2024

Canada is one of the most popular destinations for international students in the world due to the country’s excellent educational institutions, international credibility, and work and immigration possibilities.

However, there is another reason that Canada is the most desirable education destination for international students: tuition costs. The country’s favorable exchange rate and comparatively low tuition fees make schooling at Canadian institutions more affordable for international students.

In addition to this, however, the Canadian government also provides bursaries and scholarships to international students—something that other desirable education destinations like the United States, do not. In fact, EduCanada (a government organisation) even has a scholarship search tool, which can be used to determine your eligibility for financial awards from the Canadian government, foreign governments, and third-party organisations.

Discover your options to study in Canada

Important eligibility considerations

Read on to find some of the scholarships and bursaries available to international undergraduate students studying in Canada. Note that for all the following awards, in addition to specific eligibility criteria for each award, students:

  • Must already be enrolled in an educational institution in their home country that has a valid student exchange program with the institution the student will attend in Canada;
  • Cannot already be enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program at a Canadian post-secondary institution, at the time of applying;
  • Must not hold or have a pending application for Canadian citizenship or permanent residency; and
  • Cannot have already participated in a scholarship program funded by the Government of Canada (including the specific award that they are applying to).

In addition, the school that the international student is attending in Canada must be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)—as these are the only educational institutions in Canada that are authorized to accept international students.

Federal scholarships and bursaries for new international students

The Study in Canada Scholarships

The goal of the Study in Canada Scholarships is to enhance and diversify opportunities at Canadian post-secondary institutions by drawing a diverse group of international students for study or research exchange programs.

Financial rewards for this program can range from $10,200 CAD for the undergraduate level (for a period of four months/one semester), to $12,700 CAD for graduate level studies (for a period of five to six months).

To qualify, candidates must:

  • Be a citizen of a valid country or region (Asian countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan; European countries: Turkey, Ukraine; Middle East and North African territories: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia; Sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda);
  • Be a full-time student at a post-secondary institution in any of the eligible countries or regions; and
  • Be liable for paying the tuition fees to the concerned institution at the time their application is submitted and for the entire duration of their exchange program.

The Canada-ASEAN Scholarships

The Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) program—announced by the Canadian Government on August 6, 2017—offers short-term study and research opportunities at Canadian post-secondary institutions to students from ASEAN member states. The program is specifically focused on areas that support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Financial rewards here range from $10,200 CAD for the undergraduate level (for a duration of four months/one semester), to $12,700 CAD for graduate level studies (for a duration of five to six months).

Eligibility requirements for these awards include:

  • Holding citizenship from an ASEAN member nation including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR)), Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam;
  • Being a full-time student at an ASEAN member state post-secondary institution at the time of applying; and
  • Currently paying and continuing to pay tuition fees to that institution at the time of applying and throughout the exchange program period.

The Emerging Leaders in America Program

In 2009, the Canadian Government introduced the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program aimed at fostering human capital development and cultivating future leaders in the Americas.

Financial rewards for this program range from $8,200 CAD for the undergraduate level (for a duration of four months/one semester), to $11,100 CAD for graduate level studies (for a duration of five to six months).

To be eligible for this program, students must:

  • Be a citizen from a qualifying country or territory namely, in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos; in Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama; in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela; and Mexico are eligible;
  • The candidate must be a full-time student in a post-secondary institution based in an eligible country or territory; and
  • The candidate must be paying tuition fees to their home institution at the time of application and for the entire duration of their exchange period.

Students who are selected for any of the above awards may use scholarship funds towards:

  • Visa or study/work permit fees;
  • Airfare via the most direct and economical route;
  • Health insurance;
  • Living expenses, such as accommodation, utilities and food;
  • Ground transportation, including a public transportation pass; and
  • Books and supplies required for their study or research, excluding computers and other equipment.

The federal government also offers other scholarship awards for post-doctoral and graduate students, students from China, the Americas, and more. Additionally, many DLIs also offer financial awards for their international students, which international students may simultaneously be eligible for.

Discover your options to study in Canada

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