The majority of financial aid options, grants and scholarships at Canadian universities are aimed at Canadian students, meaning international students at a Canadian university may have limited resources available to them. As an international student, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will expect you to be able to finance your studies in Canada on your own.
Between your own savings and help from your family, plus some financial help that is available in the form of grants or scholarships (which do not have to be paid back), you might only cover part of the total cost to study in Canada. This is why many students from a foreign country rely on a loan to cover the remaining costs.
Loans for International Students in Canada
International students can now apply for a student loan without a cosigner if they are enrolled at select Canadian schools. International, American and Canadian students, may be eligible for a loan to cover the cost of their education including tuition, housing, food, insurance and educational supplies such as books.
With these loans the lender will look at your academic success and career path, and not purely base their decision on your credit history or that of a cosigner. A few other factors they will consider include your home country, expected graduation date and the school you attend.
International student loans are offered through private lenders, and each lender will have their own requirements and rules on eligibility.
It’s important to research your options and find a lender that will offer you a loan that meets your needs.
Finding and Comparing Canada Student Loans
If you’re an international student and would like to explore the option of a loan to study in Canada, use our student loan comparison tool to see if your chosen school has one available – in just a few clicks. If so, you can then research the terms and conditions of the loan and apply directly through the lender. The application process is quite simple and can be completed online.
When doing your research a few items you will want to take note of include:
- The amount you can borrow
- The interest rate (including if it’s fixed or variable)
- The repayment period
- When and how your funds will be disbursed
Once your application has been reviewed you will receive details on your offer including your interest rate and how much you can borrow, these items will vary by lender and your situation. If youapplication is approved, the funds are disbursed directly to your college or university. This process usually takes about 6 weeks, so plan accordingly.
To see if there are loans available at your school, including loans that don’t require a cosigner, use the student loan comparison tool to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can international students apply for student loans in Canada?
Yes – although options for funding are more limited then for domestic students, private student loans are available. Eligible students must be attending a university with a student loan program supported by a private lender.
Are these available to Canadian citizens?
Yes, Canadian citizens can use the comparison tool above to check if they are attending an eligible school and apply online.
Will there be a credit check?
Although most traditional lenders require applicants to have a good credit score, there are lenders that operate in other ways and take into account the borrower’s future potential to repay the balance.
Do I need a co-signer?
No. A co-signer is not required in Canada, although having a creditworthy co-signer may improve the interest rate you are offered.
How much money do I need to study in Canada as an international student?
This is going to vary greatly depending on your degree program, level and location. To give a rough estimate, though, $20,000 to $30,000 CAD per year for tuition fees plus an estimated $15,000 CAD for living expenses and other costs. While this number may not seem to be very affordable for most, it is significantly cheaper than some ofhter popular study destinations! You can check the total cost of attendance with your university’s financial aid office.
What can I use the funds for?
The majority of the funds will go towards your tuition fees, but you can also use them to cover accommodation and other educational expenses such as books and equipment.
Will I need a Canadian Study Permit?
A valid study permit will be required by Canadian Immigration in order for you to complete your studies. You should check specific visa details with the relevant authorities prior to plannig any travel.
How much student loan can international students get?
You can borrow up to the total cost of your education, minus any other financial aid, scholarships and awards you’re receiving. Your lender may also have a maximum amount limit in place.
How can international students pay for university in Canada?
The vast majority of students rely on their own personal savings, along with the help of their family. There are a range of scholarships either through your university or from independent sponsors. You can search scholarship listings to see if there are any suitable for you. Beyond that, if you have remaining expenses and need further funds, a loan may be the best option.
What are the repayment terms?
Repayment options will depend on the terms of your agreement with the lender, but in most cases there will be either zero or reduced payments while you are in school and 6-months post graduation. A repayment schedule will be provided to you by the lender.
Are Student Loans Worth It?
The biggest difference between a loan and other forms of financial aid like grants and scholarships is that grants and scholarships do not need to be paid back, but loans do. This means that borrowing money to pay for university does place a burden on you to make repayments – often as soon as you graduate or even while you are still studying. This is why a loan should be the last resort to fund your education, rather than your first port of call. Try to fund your studies in other ways with personal savings, grants, scholarships and family funds before taking out a loan. With that being said, a loan can make all the difference between being able to afford the dream of studying in Canada or not, and in that case repaying the loan after graduation may be totally worth it.