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Scholarships & Financial Aid in Canada

Limited financial assistance is available for international students coming from abroad. However, some schools may offer scholarships (based on academic merit) specifically for foreign students. It is best to ask the student advisor at your school to see what is available. However, keep in mind that many people apply for these awards, and scholarships do not cover the entire cost of study. 

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan enables Commonwealth students of high intellectual promise to pursue studies in Commonwealth countries. Awards comprise of travel, a living allowance, and all compulsory tuition fees.

Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute

Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute offers a number of fellowships at various levels from graduate to post-doctorate and from research and training fellowships to lectureships.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Programme

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Programme scholarships are available to graduate students in a wide variety of disciplines. Students must have been accepted to a Ontario university, and obtained a valid student authorization. Social Science and Humanities Research Council is Canada's funding agency for university based research and graduate training in social sciences and humanities which  embrace a wide range of disciplines and fields of knowledge.


National Science and Engineering Research Council is a national instrument for making strategic investments in Canada's capability in science and technology. NSERC supports both basic university research through research grants and project research via partnerships of universities and industry.

National Research Council of Canada

National Research Council of Canada Research Associateships are offered to masters degree holders in engineering, and Ph.D. holders in natural science or engineering disciplines.

Quebec Provincial Government Scholarships

Quebec Provincial Government Scholarships are available to those studying in Quebec.Teaching/ Research Assistantships are assessed in the general application.Financial assistance is frequently available to students studying at the masters level and above, the amount of funding is likely to increase with the level of study. Full funding, tuition and expenses, is more common at higher levels of studies, however, each application is assessed individually on the basis of merit.

Graduate Courses
Students at the graduate level may qualify for teaching and research assistantships based on their academic abilities. Applications for this type of assistance are made through the university's financial aid office.

Types of Assistance

Merit based assistance is awarded in many forms, from tuition waivers, various types of assistantships, to fellowships.  The most common are listed here :
  1. Tuition Waiver :  This means that the student does not have to pay the tuition fees at the university. However, general fees (for the use of university facilities like the library, computers, and sports and health services) usually have to be borne by the student. A tuition waiver is frequently awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.

  2. Scholarship / Fellowship : This is usually an outright grant based on the student’s academic ability and performance. Hence, Only a truly outstanding student may be considered for this type of award, before enrolling at the university. A full scholarship would pay for a student’s entire living expenses at that university, whereas a partial scholarship would require additional funds from the student.

  3. Assistantship : Most students who receive assistance do so in the form of an assistantship, i.e. is usually a cash stipend, sufficient for their living expenses, and/or tuition waiver, in return for which they have to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week which normally consists of teaching and research activities. These are usually for graduate courses. Teaching assistantships are more likely to be in universities, which have large undergraduate classes whereas research assistantships tend to be more common in those fields and universities in which considerable research is going on. Information brochures of most universities give this information. Often, teaching and research abilities must be proved before assistantship is granted. Hence, many universities grant this only after the first semester. You may also be required to take TSE (Test of Spoken English) to qualify for a teaching assistantship.

Who Should Apply?
Students will have a greater chance of getting financial aid if they :
  1. Show evidence of a high level of academic achievement

  2. Achieve high Standardized Examination scores (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL etc.)

  3. Demonstrate financial need but have private funding to cover some of the cost. Financial need is not crucial for some awards.

  4. Enroll in a field or have teaching experience in a subject offered at the undergraduate level (to increase opportunities for a teaching assistantship)

  5. Specialize in a field or have a research interest which parallels that of the department and faculty or private funding source (which increases opportunities for research assistantships and grants)

  6. Have outstanding letter of recommendation and an impressive statement of purpose.

  7. Send a sample of professional writing, published or otherwise.


Many graduate departments at universities offer teaching assistantships or research assistantships to their graduate students (students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree particularly in engineering). Assistantships usually involve a tuition award and some sort of salary in return for teaching or research duties. Every school has a limited number of openings for assistantships based on the amount of funding allocated. As a result, such   scholarships are merit-based, meaning they are competitive, based on your academic performance to date.

Individual departments at the university generally control funds.  It always helps to write directly to the department to inquire about available funding.  Students who are research oriented or have published papers in a particular field should contact professors interested in that field.  By contacting professors in advance and building a relationship, you can greatly enhance your chance of getting aid.

Unfortunately, there are many deserving students who do not get aid along with the admission.  If you are one of them and plan on joining anyway, we strongly recommend you arrive a few days prior to the registration time.  This will give you an opportunity to personally talk with the professors and sell your skills.  Professors usually have funding available for various projects and you may be able to find something that matches your skill set.  We also strongly recommend that you don’t restrict yourself to your particular department.  There are several opportunities in other departments particularly for students with strong computer skills.  You have to be aggressive and persistent in your approach.  Although there is no guarantee that you will get financial aid, it is well worth the try.  Always remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  

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