Expenses for an Indian Student in Canada

Canada has emerged as a popular destination for international students, including those from India, seeking quality education and diverse cultural experiences. As an Indian student studying in Canada, it is essential to be well-informed about the expected expenses to plan a budget effectively. This blog will delve into the monthly and annual expenses an Indian student may encounter while pursuing higher education in Canada, with reference to statistics and examples from popular Canadian cities.

Tuition Fees:

Tuition fee expenses for Indian students pursuing higher education in Canada can vary depending on the level of study and the university chosen. As of my last update in September 2021, the costs have likely changed, so it’s essential for students to check the latest information with their chosen institutions. Here’s a general overview of the tuition fees for undergrad, diploma, and master’s courses:

  1. Undergraduate Courses: For undergraduate programs, the tuition fees for Indian students in Canada can range from CAD 15,000 to CAD 35,000 per year. The actual cost will depend on the university, the program of study, and the province in which the university is located. For example, popular courses like Engineering, Computer Science, and Business may have higher tuition fees compared to Arts and Humanities programs.
  2. Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate Programs: Diploma or postgraduate certificate courses are shorter in duration and may have more affordable tuition fees compared to full-degree programs. The fees can range from CAD 10,000 to CAD 25,000 per year, depending on the course and institution. For instance, a one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management could cost around CAD 15,000 at a Canadian college.
  3. Master’s Degree Programs: The tuition fees for master’s degree programs can vary widely, with costs ranging from CAD 20,000 to CAD 60,000 per year. Professional programs like MBA or specialized fields such as Medicine and Law may have higher fees. As an example, a two-year Master of Science in Computer Science at a reputable Canadian university might cost around CAD 30,000 per year.


Accommodation options and expenses for Indian students in Canada can vary depending on the province and city they choose to study in. Here are some common accommodation types and approximate expenses in popular student destinations across different Canadian provinces:

  1. On-Campus Residence: Many universities and colleges offer on-campus residence options for students. These accommodations typically include dormitory-style rooms or apartments and provide easy access to campus facilities. The costs can range from CAD 8,000 to CAD 15,000 per academic year. For example, the University of Toronto offers on-campus housing options starting from CAD 10,000 per year.
  2. Off-Campus Shared Apartment: Renting a shared apartment with other students can be a more affordable option. The expenses can vary based on the city and location but generally range from CAD 600 to CAD 1,200 per month. For instance, in Montreal, a shared apartment in the downtown area might cost around CAD 800 per month.
  3. Homestay: Homestays involve living with a Canadian host family, providing an opportunity for cultural immersion. It includes meals and other amenities. The costs can range from CAD 800 to CAD 1,500 per month, depending on the city and the services provided. In Vancouver, a homestay might cost around CAD 1,000 per month.
  4. Rental Apartments/Condos: Renting a private apartment or condo can offer more independence but can also be more expensive. The monthly rent can range from CAD 1,000 to CAD 2,500, depending on the city and the type of accommodation chosen. In Calgary, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center might cost around CAD 1,500 per month.

Food and Groceries:

Food and grocery expenses are essential considerations for Indian students studying in Canada. The cost of food can vary based on the student’s dietary preferences, the province or city they are in, and whether they eat out frequently or cook at home. Here’s a table with approximate monthly expenses for food and groceries for an Indian student in Canada:

ExpenseMonthly Cost (CAD)
Groceries$200 – $400
Eating Out$150 – $300
Total$350 – $700
Food and grocery expenses for Indian students in Canada
  1. Groceries: Buying groceries and cooking at home can help students save money. The cost of groceries depends on individual preferences and dietary habits. For example, purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and staples like rice and lentils can be economical. Budget-conscious students can expect to spend around CAD 200 to CAD 400 per month on groceries.
  2. Eating Out: Eating out at restaurants or ordering takeout occasionally is a common practice for students, especially during busy study periods. The cost of eating out can vary based on the type of cuisine and the city. Dining at inexpensive eateries or opting for fast-food outlets may be more affordable. On average, students can expect to spend about CAD 150 to CAD 300 per month on eating out.

It’s important to manage food expenses wisely, as eating out frequently can significantly impact a student’s budget. Cooking at home and meal planning can help keep food costs in check. Moreover, many Canadian cities offer diverse culinary experiences, so exploring affordable food options and taking advantage of student discounts can contribute to a balanced and enjoyable dining experience while studying in Canada.

Easier way to manage food and grocery expense as a student

In addition to managing their own food and grocery expenses, Indian students studying in Canada can also explore various bursaries and facilities provided by colleges and universities to support their nutritional needs. Some educational institutions offer meal plans and dining services on campus, allowing students to access nutritious meals at discounted rates. These meal plans often include a certain number of meals per week or semester. Universities may also have on-campus food banks or food support programs to assist students facing financial challenges. These initiatives aim to ensure that students have access to sufficient and healthy food options while pursuing their studies. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer bursaries or financial assistance to students in need, which can help alleviate the cost burden of food and groceries. These bursaries are typically awarded based on financial need and academic performance. Indian students should inquire with their respective institutions about the availability of such facilities and explore the eligibility criteria for accessing these resources to make the most of the support available to them.

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Transportation expenses are a crucial consideration for Indian students studying in Canada, as they need to navigate around the city for classes, part-time work, and leisure activities. The cost of transportation can vary depending on the city and the mode of travel. Here’s an overview of transportation expenses and examples of monthly/seasonal passes for students in popular Canadian cities:

  1. Monthly/Seasonal Passes: Many cities in Canada offer discounted monthly or seasonal passes for students, providing unlimited travel on buses, trains, or both. These passes are cost-effective and convenient for regular commuters. Here are examples of such passes in popular student destinations:
    • Toronto: The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) offers a Post-Secondary Monthly Pass for students, priced around CAD 128 per month. This pass provides unlimited travel on buses, streetcars, and subways within Toronto.
    • Vancouver: TransLink offers the U-Pass BC for students enrolled in participating post-secondary institutions. This pass costs around CAD 41 per month and provides unlimited travel on buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.
    • Montreal: The STM (Société de transport de Montréal) provides the Opus card, which allows students to load a monthly pass at a reduced rate of approximately CAD 54. This pass covers buses and the metro system.
  2. Additional Transportation Expenses: Apart from monthly passes, students should budget for occasional rides on-demand services like taxis or ride-sharing apps. Additionally, they might need to cover occasional long-distance travel, such as intercity buses or trains, if they plan to explore other cities during holidays.

To save on transportation costs, Indian students can also consider walking or cycling for shorter distances and taking advantage of student discounts available for various transportation services and events. It’s crucial for students to research and choose the most suitable transportation options to efficiently manage their expenses while studying in Canada.

Health Insurance:

Health insurance is a crucial aspect for Indian students studying in Canada, as it provides essential coverage for medical expenses during their stay. As an international student, it is mandatory to have health insurance while studying in Canada. The Canadian healthcare system is publicly funded and offers basic coverage to its citizens and permanent residents, but international students are not eligible for this coverage. Therefore, students need to arrange for private health insurance to meet their medical needs.

Most Canadian provinces require international students to have health insurance in place before arriving in the country. The coverage typically includes hospitalization, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, and emergency medical services. The cost of health insurance for Indian students in Canada varies based on factors such as age, health condition, and the coverage plan chosen.

For example, the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is a common option for international students in Ontario. The UHIP cost for Indian students might be around CAD 600 to CAD 800 per year. Similarly, in British Columbia, the Medical Services Plan (MSP) is available for eligible international students, and the monthly premiums can range from CAD 37 to CAD 75.

It is essential for Indian students to research and compare different health insurance options to find a plan that suits their needs and budget. Health insurance provides peace of mind and ensures that students can access necessary medical services without facing exorbitant costs during their academic journey in Canada.

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Miscellaneous expenses are an important consideration for Indian students studying in Canada, as they cover various aspects of daily life and academic pursuits beyond tuition, accommodation, and transportation. These expenses can vary widely based on personal preferences and lifestyle choices. Here are some common miscellaneous expenses that Indian students may encounter while studying in Canada:

  1. Textbooks and Course Materials: Textbooks and course materials can be a significant expense for students, especially in specialized fields. Depending on the program of study, students may need to budget around CAD 500 to CAD 1,000 per year for books and supplies.
  2. Technology and Gadgets: Students often require laptops, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets for their studies. The cost of these items can range from CAD 800 to CAD 1,500, depending on the specifications and brand.
  3. Extracurricular Activities: Participating in extracurricular activities, such as joining clubs, sports, or cultural events, may involve additional costs. Some activities may be free, while others might require membership fees or event tickets.
  4. Health and Wellness: Aside from health insurance, students may need to budget for personal care items, medications, and occasional visits to a doctor or dentist. Budgeting around CAD 50 to CAD 100 per month for health-related expenses is reasonable.
  5. Mobile and Internet Services: Communication is essential for students, and the cost of mobile and internet services can range from CAD 50 to CAD 100 per month, depending on the plan and data usage.
  6. Entertainment and Socializing: Students often allocate funds for social activities, dining out with friends, or exploring the city. Budgeting around CAD 100 to CAD 200 per month for entertainment and socializing is common.

It’s important for Indian students to create a monthly budget that accounts for these miscellaneous expenses to ensure financial stability and a fulfilling academic experience in Canada. Proper financial planning will help students manage their resources effectively and make the most of their time abroad.


Studying in Canada as an Indian student is an enriching experience, but it comes with financial responsibilities. Understanding the monthly and annual expenses is crucial for effective budgeting and planning. While tuition fees and accommodation may form the major expenses, students should also consider other essential aspects such as food, transportation, health insurance, and miscellaneous costs. By being aware of these expenses and making informed decisions, Indian students can make the most of their educational journey in Canada and ensure a financially secure and fulfilling experience.

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