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How Much Money Will It Cost an International Student to Study in Toronto Canada?

Sandrene is a 2nd year international Accounting and Finance student at Seneca College who has maintained a 4.0 GPA while working part-time.



As international students our costs to study internationally are significantly higher than that of locals and permanent residents. In light of this, choosing to study in Toronto Canada is not a decision to be made without first carefully considering the costs that will be involved once you get here. Ranging from the obvious expenses, such as tuition to the most primitive, such as daily living expenses, here is a breakdown of the most basic costs based on my personal experience.


What are the Types of Costs Involved

There are many different costs to consider if you plan to study in Toronto Canada. However these are the basic ones that cannot be left out of your budget:

1. Tuition

2. Housing

3. Books and study materials

4. Transportation

5. Health Insurance

6. Daily Living Expenses

These costs may vary based on several factors such as where you chose to live, your college, your program, type of housing, whether or not you have a spouse of room mate to share costs with etc. The following is a breakdown of the above mentioned costs.


Tuition fees for international student can be quite expensive compared to Canadian Residents. The amount is almost three times what the locals pay. On average tuition fees range from approximately $5,000.00 to $17,000.00 CAD per semester, depending on the college and the type of program being pursued. Payment plans are not available for international students so the tuition has to be paid up front on the prescribed date. Failure to do this might result in being unable to complete your studies for a particular term so make sure you budget for this.



Housing is another important cost to consider when studying abroad. The type of housing you select may depend on several things. Whether or not you have a spouse, closeness to school, sharing space etc. If you are renting an apartment (one or two bedrooms) it can cost roughly between $1,200 and 2,000 CAD per month. Basements are a cheaper option that has the potential to save you up to $400 per month. If you are boarding on campus it can cost between $600 and 1500 CAD per month. The cheapest option however is shared rooms and facilities. When I was searching for housing online I saw options as cheap as $300 per month.


Books and Study Materials

As is customary textbooks are an integral part of your studies. If you are taking at least 5 courses per semester then books might cost you about $600 for the term. However I have noticed now that text book publishers in an effort to be accessible online are now offering several soft copy options which are normally cheaper than the paperback. Instructors normally use publishers online programs as well to assist with assignments and grading which can also add about $200 to the soft copy costs. Other materials needed would include financial and scientific calculators, special dictionaries, and other tools necessary for the successful completion of a course. You can budget about $500 per semester for these.


Travelling to and from college in Toronto can be quite costly or it can be absolutely cheap. It really depends on where you live and what mode of transportation you prefer. If your lifestyle is high-end and you want to be chauffeured then you can book an uber to an from school each day. The least you will pay for an uber trip is about $7.00 if you live close by. The more kilometres the more money you will pay. You can arrive at a monthly cost by checking the uber app or google maps. All you have to do is put in the to and from address and you will see the cost. Multiply that by the number of days you will travel to school for the month and times it by two.

If you have your own car, transportation costs would still depend on kilometres but would be proportionately cheaper than uber. Of course that is without factoring insurance and maintenance of the car. You can car pool with other students to save money with this option. Another option is public transit which would cost only $6 per day if you live in Toronto. Unlike the other two options mentioned, public transit does not charge by distance, you just pay once every two hours. So if you can get to school within two hours you only pay around $3 and then another $3 back home. The cheapest option however is to walk to school if you can. This way the only cost you will need to consider is a good pair of sneakers.


Health Insurance

This is mandatory for all international students. The Ontario health card is not available to international students (exceptions exists) so therefore they normally have to purchase from a private company. This can cost up to $1500 CAD per year and is charged as part of your tuition. However, if you came to Canada with your spouse and your spouse is eligible for the health card you might be able to get it too. Your health insurance plan can be changed to a domestic one once you submit the Ontario Health Card to your school. The domestic plan is much cheaper and costs about $115 per semester.


Daily Living Expenses

Daily living expenses such as food and utilities are also an important cost to consider. The average costs for groceries can range from $200 to $600 per month per individual, depending on taste and preferences. Compulsory utilities (electricity and gas) can cost in total up to $300 per month depending on your usage. You also definitely need the internet to do complete your studies as this is how you communicate with professors and access your student center where assignments and grades are posted. Internet packages range from $60 to $200 per month based on services selected (whether you need TV, Cable, Faster Internet). Overall monthly living expenses can cost between $500 and $1500 per month. Of course if you are sharing with someone these costs will be cheaper.


Studying in Toronto Canada can be quite expensive but you have to learn how to manage your money by budgeting, reducing, and sharing expenses where possible. Whatever your reason is for choosing to study here, plan in advance and try to factor in all your expenses so your finances are not depleted by unexpected expenses and costs. Toronto Canada is a great place to study.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Sandrene Morris