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3 Reasons to Attend College in Canada
When looking to complete a degree abroad, American students may gaze longingly to France, England or even Australia. But for budget-minded students, studying in Canada may be the practical choice to stretch your college fund and to experience a culture that’s different, but close enough so as not to not feel overly homesick.
Here are a few reasons why America’s neighbor to the north is a good alternative to overcrowded state schools and private colleges that charge extortionate tuition.
The exchange rate is one reason why Americans should look to Canada for higher education opportunities. Currently, an American dollar can buy $1.32 Canadian dollars, which leads to a reduction in the cost of everything from tuition to books to housing to going out on the weekend.
Although the exchange rate may change, some speculate that the Canadian dollar could fall to US$0.55, a move that would have American students in Canada paying even less for tuition and other expenses.
Lower tuition costs
Even if the Canadian and American dollars were equivalent on a one-to-one ratio, tuition costs are dramatically lower in Canada than they are south of the border. Take the University of Ottawa for example. In Canada’s capital, tuition for international students costs C$12,823 (US$9,714) for the year. McGill University, in the French part of Canada, charges C$18,258 (US$13,821) for a year’s tuition, while Memorial University charges C$9,443 (US$7,100).
These fees exclude books and lodging, but include health insurance. While 18-year olds don’t worry much about getting ill, the universities’ academic associations force students to have health care coverage beyond what the government provides. This additional private insurance is included in tuition.
Lower cost of living
With a minimum wage of over $10 per hour and low- to non-existent income tax for students, it’s easy to lead a good life in Canada. It’s true that certain cities have rents of over $1,000 a month for student apartments and that student housing can be expensive compared to off-campus housing. But with a bit of research and luck, shared apartments can be found for a couple hundred dollars a month.
Canada has indirect cost savings as well – public transportation networks in the cities are reliable, making it rare that students require cars. At the same time, electricity and heating costs are often included in rent, and government subsidies mean that cultural activities like museums are free for students
An Easy Path To Immigration
A major benefit for American students getting a degree in Canada is the country’s liberal immigration policy towards students. While studying, students can work on campus, and post-graduation work permits are easily obtained if the student would like continue to work and live in Canada.
With visa and residence application fees costing thousands of dollars, having a simple and affordable way to legally work in Canada is something that can be had for less than the cost of studying in America.
The Bottom Line
With tuition, rent, groceries and restaurants being cheaper in Canada than in the United States once the exchange rate is factored in, Canada is a cheap college option worth considering. Canada is safe and readily accepts immigrants who’ve studied at their schools. With flights to the US only a few hundred dollars, and no real spike in fares around American holidays, attending college in Canada could be exactly what a high school student is looking for if he or she hopes to graduate free of debt.