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How to Get a Scholarship to Study in Canada

Studying in Canada can open up a number of valuable opportunities to anyone who wants to add to their professional resume, prepare for the global market or start a new life abroad.

Canada welcomes thousands of foreign students to join their prestigious tertiary educational institutions every year. According to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), Canada is the third-leading place for foreign students to study globally, with 642,000 students currently enrolled in Canada's top education institutions.

Ontario is still the most popular destination to study in Canada, with almost 50% of the country’s international students enrolled in it’s universities and colleges, followed by British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. The majority of Canadian study visas issued in 2019 went to candidates from India, China, South Korea, France, Vietnam and Brazil.

Studying abroad can quickly add up to a significant amount. With tuition fees, the cost of your accommodation, textbooks and resources as well as general everyday expenses, and the current conversion rates to take into account, studying in Canada may not be as feasible to some as they are for others. The Government has therefore introduced a number of fully funded scholarships and rewards programs, under the GAC (Global Affairs Canada) Program, to assist highly talented candidates get the education that they’ve always dreamt of. As an international student, you are also able to work part time, both on and off campus (during break), to help ease the cost of living.

A number of Canadian universities and colleges also have their own scholarship programs for international students, particularly Ontario and British Columbia.

Keep reading to find out more about these amazing opportunities and how you can apply or simply click the link below to apply for a comprehensive evaluation and give yourself the best chances of success in your Canadian visa application.

Don't waste time. Get your application in early and start your journey towards a brighter future in Canada.

How Can I Study in Canada For Free?



happy students on campus after getting a scholarship to study in Canada for free

Canada welcomes thousands of international students to it’s universities every year, and you could be one of them. Because the Canadian government understands that not all students may be able to afford international tuition fees, they have made scholarship programs available to help welcome the most talented students to study in Canada.

There are various international scholarship programs available from the Canadian government, non-profit and international organizations.

Government Funded Scholarships: Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) manages and distributes funding for a number of scholarship and rewards programs for students from all over the globe. GAC programs are fully funded by the Canadian government and covers expenses such as airfare, tuition, monthly living expenses, study permits, accommodation, health insurance and more. The programs are specifically aimed at single students. If you would like to bring your family or spouse with you for the duration of your stay you would need to be able to provide for them out of pocket.

It is also important to note that most programs are extremely difficult to qualify for as only top tier candidates will be accepted into the program. Most of the GAC programs may also require that students make a formal commitment to return to their country once they have completed their program

As a GAC student, you would therefore not be eligible to apply for a work permit under the Post Graduate Work Permit Program once your studies are complete.

Below is an overview of scholarship programs funded by the GAC.


GAC Scholarship Programs 2020
ProgramLength of StayLevel of Study
1.African Leaders of Tomorrow12-24 monthsGraduate (Master’s degree)
2. Canada-Brazil Awards (joint Research Projects)10 days; 4-6 monthsFaculty; Graduate (Master’s degree, PhD)
3. Canada-Chile Leadership Exchange Scholarship4 - 6 months College or vocational; undergraduate (Master’s degree, PhD)
4. Emerging Leaders in Americas Program4 - 12 monthsFaculty; scholars; mid-career; professionals
5. Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program4 - 6 months Faculty; scholars; mid career; professionals
6. Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarships Program4 - 8 monthsCollege or vocational; undergraduate (Master’s degree, PhD)
7. Canada-CARICOM Faculty Scholarships Program2 - 3 weeks; 5 -6 monthsFaculty or international liaison officers or managers undertaking professional development; faculty undertaking graduate studies or research
8. Dobbin Scholarship2-4 weeks Graduate research
9. James M. Flaherty Program4-6 weeks; 2-3 monthsGraduate and postdoctoral research; visiting professorship
10. Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program2-6 weeks; 4-36 monthsScholars; professionals; graduate (Master’s degree, PhD); postdoctoral; faculty
11. Killam Fellowships Program4-10 monthsUndergraduate
12. Programme canadien de bourses de la Francophonie12-48 monthsCollege or vocational; graduate (Master’s degree, PhD); postdoctoral


Top GAC Scholarship Programs



multicultural students studying in class in Canada

1. Study in Canada Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 31, 2020

Eligible Applicants: Applicants from Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Comoros, Djibouti, Fiji,Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Liberia, Mauritania, Micronesia, Palau, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu and Palestines from the West bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Value & Duration: Up to $60,000 per year (1 - 2 years)

This program is aimed at opening up educational programs to individuals from diverse regions across the globe.

2. Scholarships for LAC Citizens Program

Deadline: March 30, 2020

Eligible Applicants: Latin American and Caribbean applicants already enrolled in a post-secondary institution in an eligible country

Value & Duration: $7,200 (4 month or 1 academic term) or $9,700(5 - 6 months)

There are 650 short-term exchange scholarships available for Latin American and Caribbean citizens who want to study in Canada or do research in Canada at college, undergraduate and graduate levels.

Please note that only Canadian institutions may apply on your behalf. In general, you will need a study permit for most courses and work permit for research programs.

3. Study and Research Scholarships for Southeast Asian Students Program

Deadline: March 5, 2020

Eligible Applicants: Latin American and Caribbean applicants already enrolled in a post-secondary institution in an eligible country

Duration:

There are currently about 125 scholarships available for programs all over Canada aligned with sustainable development for members of Southeast Asia.

Provincial and Territorial Scholarships



map of Canada


Some provinces and territories offer their own scholarship programs, particularly Ontario and British Columbia.

Ontario

Ontario Trillium Scholarship Program - for international PhD students wanting to study at a university in Ontario.

British Columbia

Canadian Bureau for International Education Vanier Canada Scholarships program - international doctoral students ($50,000 per year for up to 3 years)

Universities That Offer Scholarships to Study in Canada



Toronto university study in Canada

If you do not qualify for a fully funded government scholarship, you can apply to study in Canada through a variety of university scholarship programs across the country. Below are some of the top universities offering scholarship programs and awards to international students.


  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • University of British Columbia
  • Saskatchewan University
  • Calgary University
  • Dalhousie University<
  • McMaster University
  • Regina University
  • York University
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Alberta

The Best Part!

The best part about studying on a scholarship program that is acquired from your Designated Learning Institution and not the GAC, is that you may be eligible to apply to stay and work in Canada once you have completed your study program! Gaining Canadian work experience will then also increase your chances of getting permanent residence in Canada.

How Do I Apply to Study in Canada?



foreign students studying in Canadian university

Whether or not you have a scholarship to study in Canada you will still need a study permit. This allows you to stay in Canada legally for the duration of your study program.

Below are the steps you’ll need to take to apply for a permit to study in Canada.

Step 1: Documentation

Before you apply for your study permit to study in Canada, it’s best to ensure that you have all your necessary documentation ready, the most important of which is your acceptance letter from your DLI (Designated Learning Institution). There are over a thousand universities to choose from, so you may want to consider enlisting the help of a professional at this point to help you make the right choice. At Canadian Visa, we have a dedicated academic advisor who will support and guide you through the entire process.

You will also need to be able to prove that you will be able to support yourself financially along with any family members who will be joining you. Other documentation includes your medical exam results, police clearance certificate and language tests.

Top Tip: Ensure that you are prepared for your IELTS as not meeting the necessary language level requirements could result in your study permit being rejected, even though you may have an acceptance letter.

Step 2: Application

Once you have all your documents in order you will be able to submit your application and pay all relevant fees. The processing times can vary depending on where you are applying from.

Step 3: Travel Arrangements

If you are accepted you will receive a letter of introduction. This is not a study permit but a document stating that your study permit has been approved. You will need this document when you arrive in Canada.

You will also need a travel visa. This allows you to enter Canada legally. A single entry allows you to enter and leave the country once and a multiple entry will allow you to come and go, as you please, for a certain period of time. So if you're planning to go to your home or go on vacation over your break, you may want to opt for a multiple entry visa.

How We Help You Achieve Success

International students holding up graduation caps in Canada

Navigating the Canadian immigration system can be very complex. With a copious amount of forms and documents to complete and strict submission dates, we wouldn’t blame you if you felt apathetic about getting started on your application. Making the slightest error on your application form or forgetting to submit a supporting document could lead to your application being rejected and delay the application process to study in Canada by 6 months or more. Why take that risk?

At Canadian Visa, we take the stress and hassle out of the application process. Our accredited RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) are legal immigration representatives and are ready to evaluate your eligibility, review and submit all documentation on your behalf. Using an RCIC not only gives you the best possible chance of receiving an ITA but will make the entire process simple and stress-free.

We handle the paperwork while you prepare for your journey to Canada. All you have to do is complete our online form and we’ll take care of the rest. It's just that simple.

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