Grants for International Students in Canada

Winning a scholarship that pays for your tuition and living expenses is a great way to get started with your studies in Canada. Scholarships are common at Canada’s higher learning institutions, and they’re usually awarded to students that stand out academically. However, job and volunteer experience can boost your application for a Canadian scholarship. Scholarships offer a form of non-repayable financial aid, but there are a small number of them available, and competition for them is fierce.

Scholarships in Canada are available to international students studying at any level in Canada, including at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, postdoctoral, and certificate levels. Canada’s federal government offers international students funding opportunities in practically any field of study. Therefore, students from all around the world can apply for this Canada Government grant for study abroad. Thankfully, Canadian universities provide a wide range of scholarship opportunities, the longest of which can cover a student’s tuition costs for up to four years.

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List of Scholarships in Canada for International Students

1) The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship at the University of Toronto

Scholarships are available each year at the University of Toronto for international students from all around the world, including those studying in secondary schools in Canada. Students from around the world who attend the University of Toronto are encouraged to apply for the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship Program, which rewards academic achievement, artistic expression, and leadership. The University of Toronto bestows the title of Lester B. Pearson Scholar upon 37 undergraduates each year. For four years, the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship will cover tuition, books, incidental fees, and complete living expenses.

One should meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Pearson International Scholarship:

  • An international student / a non-Canadian requiring a study permit.
  • You must be in your final year of high school or have graduated by June.
  • In September of the upcoming year, you will have to begin your studies at the University of Toronto. Students already attending post-secondary studies cannot be considered; students starting their studies in January of the upcoming year at another post-secondary institution cannot be considered.

2.   Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award at University of British Columbia

The Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award is given out annually by the University of British Columbia to an international student who has shown exceptional leadership skills, academic achievement, and participation in campus and local community activities. Undergraduate international students can apply for this scholarship. Based on your demonstrated financial need, you will receive an amount from the Karen McKelin International Leader of Tomorrow Award. Your annual payment to college is removed from the total cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses to determine financial aid eligibility. A maximum of three additional years of undergraduate study, or until you earn your degree, may be covered by your award.

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There are some requirements for one to be nominated for the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award:

  • Be an international student with a Canadian study permit who will be studying in Canada.
  • Transfer from a recognized high school or from your first year at a post-secondary college or other university to attend UBC.
  • Meet all of UBC’s admission standards, including the English Language Admission Standard and general and degree-specific requirements.
  • A track record of academic excellence.
  • Demonstrate financial need that would prohibit you from pursuing a UBC degree otherwise.
  • Be a high school graduate no earlier than June two years prior to the academic year for which you are applying.

3.   York University International Student Scholarship

There are two different scholarship opportunities available to international students at York University: the Global Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship and the International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction. International students at York University in Ontario, Canada, can apply for one of four International Entrance Scholarships of Distinction or one of two Global Leader of Tomorrow Awards. Full-time international students can receive either the $80,000 Global Leader of Tomorrow Award or the $140,000 International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction, both of which are renewable for four years of college. All incoming freshmen must belong to one of the following academic disciplines:

  • Liberal Arts and Professional Studies
  • Arts, Media, Performance & Design
  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Health
  • Science
  • Business

To get the major international scholarship, it is mandatory to meet all the listed requirements:

  • International Student holding a Canadian Study Permit.
  • Have applied to one of the undergraduate degree programs of York University.
  • Being a York accepted student who applied right out of  high school, no more than two years after graduation, and who had no prior university or college courses.
  • Hold a strong academic record with a minimum grade point average of “A” or comparable.
  • Have shown leadership via volunteerism or success in the arts, sports, or other areas of personal achievement.
  • Having been nominated by the native high school, normally only one student can be nominated.
  • Load a letter of recommendation.
  • Ensure that all essential documents in the York application are marked as “Received”.
  • The online International Student Scholarship Application must be completed  within the required time frame of the university.

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4.   Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Every year, the province of Ontario and the University of Toronto provide Ontario Graduate Scholarships to deserving international students who want to pursue advanced degrees at U of T, specifically Master’s and Doctoral levels. Students from all around the world, including those who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or protected persons, are eligible to apply for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. At $5,000 a pop, the OGS is not cheap. As a result, awardees may get $10,000 or $15,000 for two consecutive sessions or three consecutive sessions. In all situations, the awarding graduate unit will provide one-third of the total award won by the students. In addition, the OGS requirements prohibit students from holding both an OGS and another government-funded award at the same time, with a lifetime limitation of 6 years of government-funded prizes.

In order to be eligible for Ontario Graduate Scholarship one must meet the following criteria:

  • International students who are studying or want to study at the University of Toronto on a temporary resident visa must be Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents, or Protected Persons under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).
  • Must receive an A- (or equivalent) in each of the last two years of full-time study or, if you have completed two years of graduate studies at the time of application, show an overall average of at least A- (or equivalent) on all graduate courses completed.
  • Be a full-time student at the University of Toronto in an appropriate program at the graduate unit where the OGS was conferred and stay enrolled.
  • Do not hold a full-time job or an OGS award in the same session or in the same award year as a scholarship from SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR, QEII-GSST, or another OGS.

The qualifying standards listed above are simply the bare minimum. Additional conditions for applying for, receiving, or holding an OGS may be imposed by graduate units.


By Joner

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