The Most Cost-Effective Universities in Canada

Odds are good you're trying to save as much as you can while still earning a great degree that will pave the way to a secure, stable career. But every degree isn't made equally — and different provinces have different average tuition costs.

How much you can expect to pay is a combination of factors, including your school of choice, the program you're studying, and the cost of living in the place you're studying. If you can live with your parents throughout your degree, you'll save a lot compared to someone who lives alone, paying rent the whole way.

Most expensive undergrad tuition for Canadian students

These numbers come from Statistics Canada, and there will always be variation! So use this info as a jumping-off point as you think about where and what you want to study.

#1: Nova Scotia

One of the country's smallest provinces has the most expensive tuition for Canadian students! StatsCan says the average cost of tuition is $8,757 per year. Nova Scotia, on Canada's east coast, is home to universities like NSCAD, St Francis Xavier, and Dalhousie. You'll definitely want to apply for scholarships if you're considering studying in Nova Scotia.

#2: Saskatchewan

Smack-dab in the middle of the country, Saskatchewan is dominated by pairies, and is known as the birthplace of Canada's social healthcare program. Even so, tuition is expensive; you can expect to pay an average of $8,243 a year. Saskatchewan is home to great schools, including the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan.

#3: Ontario

Canada's most populous province is also one of its most expensive for domestic students. Ontario is home to the country's capitol, Ottawa, as well as its biggest city, Toronto. Canadian students can expect to pay an average of $7,938 a year to study in Ontario at schools like the University of Waterloo, the the University of Toronto, and York University.

Least expensive undergrad tuition for Canadian students

#1: Newfoundland and Labrador

Canada's easternmost province, Newfoundland and Labrador has the country's least expensive tuition for Canadian students. Nearly 40% of the province's population lives in its largest city, St. John's, which is home to Memorial University and the one-and-only Marine Institute, which focuses on nautical engineering and science — perfect for a province where more than half the population lives on a peninsula way out in the Atlantic!

#2: Quebec

Quebec is home to Canada's largest Francophone population, and while many universities teach in both English and French, French is the sole official language of the province. If you live in Quebec, tuition is much less expensive than for students from other parts of Canada, which is lucky, as Quebec is home to great universities like McGill and Concordia.

#3: Yukon

Yukon Territory is the smallest of Canada's three territories, and home to only a single university — though it has 13 campuses! Formerly Yukon College, in 2020 it officially became Yukon University. With a population of under 50,000 people, you'll certainly have room to stretch out! If you can handle the long winters, Yukon is a beautiful (and affordable) place to study.

The least expensive undergraduate program fields for Canadians

Statistics Canada has gathered data on undergraduate tuition fees for a range of program areas. Here are the top 10 least expensive fields of study for Canadian students, ranked from least expensive to most. Others that didn't make the list include dentistry and medicine, the most expensive by far.

Remember, a person with a bachelor's degree makes on average $1,000,000 more in their lifetime than someone without!

The least expensive graduate level program fields for Canadians

Things look a little different at the graduate level, according to Statistics Canada. Below are the ten least expensive fields, sorted from cheapest to most expensive. Of course, there are many fields much more expensive than these — did you know the average cost of tuition for an executive MBA is over $50,000?

Find the right program for you