Everyone wants to study in Canada today — and with up to 100% application fee waiver available (if you know where to look)m why not?
There are three Canadian universities in the world’s top 50 according to QS World University Rankings 2023.
Research opportunities and PhD scholarships are available, as are support services.
Universities received a satisfaction score above 80% for all but one (residence and housing) support service, the 2021 CBIE International Student Survey found.
The great things about studying in Canada extend beyond academics. It includes once-in-a-lifetime chances to:
- Explore stunning landscapes like Niagara Fall and Mount Royal Park
- Be part of vibrant, multicultural cities like Toronto
- Taste some of the freshest seafood in the world, like lobster in Halifax
- Try adventure sports like year-round surfing and sea kayaking
The problem is studying in Canada can be expensive.
The average annual tuition for international students is around 29,714 Canadian dollars (US$22,500).
Any chance to save any amount is welcome — especially when the application fee to just one university, which may be non-refundable, ranges between CA$50 to 250.
Thankfully, Canada has many universities that offer application fee waivers that can help you save money on your pursuit of higher education.
Benefits of applying to Canadian universities with fee waivers
A recent study found that students applying to multiple universities in Canada without application fees were able to save an average of CA$500 during the application process.
This financial relief not only eases the initial burden of studying abroad but also allows you to allocate those funds towards other essential items you may need, such as textbooks, transportation and meals.
With a fee waiver, you can also apply to all the universities on your list without worrying about the costs.
This increases your chances of receiving multiple admission offers, providing you with a range of options to choose from.
With the freedom to explore various universities and programmes, you can make a more informed decision that aligns with your academic and personal goals.
How to apply to Canadian universities with fee waivers
Unfortunately, there’s no one-stop platform with the full list of Canadian universities with fee waivers.
Beyond the unis in our list below, you’ll have to go to each university and programme’s official sites to find out whether they charge application fees or not.
Once you’ve shortlisted the universities of interest, check each one’s official website to confirm their application fee policies.
Sometimes, fee waivers are introduced out of the blue or for a temporary period. It is a good idea to return to these sites frequently.
Another tip is as you move forward, you should gather essential documents required for your application, such as academic transcripts, a valid passport, a well-crafted statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.
Don’t leave it to the last minute. Applying early and allocating ample time to verify and compile these documents will allow you to make the best application you can.
By following these steps, you’re putting your best foot forward. Even if you don’t get in, you don’t feel like you’ve completely wasted your application fee.
8 Canadian universities with application fee waivers
1. Quest University
Nestled in the scenic town of Squamish, Quest University has been a top choice for undergraduate liberal arts and sciences programmes since its establishment in 2007.
With a unique approach that empowers students to design their own courses and pursue their passions, Quest creates an intimate learning environment with small classes capped at a maximum of 20 students.
Boasting a student body of just 600, Quest offers only one degree – the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences.
However, it excels in this area, offering students an unconventional and personalised education without breaking the bank.
What makes the university even more appealing to students is its commitment to breaking down financial barriers.
It is one of the institutions in Canada that offers application fee waivers. The usual burden of application fees is lifted for international and domestic students applying for the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences programme.
However, while the application process itself is fee-free, admitted students are required to confirm their enrollment by paying a deposit of CA$500 (CA$5,000 for non-Canadian citizens, permanent residents or US citizens).
2. University of British Columbia
If you are looking to pursue higher education without the financial hurdle of application fees in the new year, the University of British Columbia is one of the top Canadian universities offering an application fee waiver.
Founded in 1908, the university stands out not only for its world-renowned graduate and postgraduate programmes but also for its commitment to fostering inclusivity in the application process.
While there is a standard application fee for both Canadian and international students, the university automatically extends fee waivers to certain eligible candidates.
International students hailing from the world’s 50 least-developed countries, as identified by the United Nations, are eligible for automatic fee waivers.
On top of that, the Department of Chemistry absorbs the application fee for domestic students applying to its postgraduate programmes.
If you are a Canadian citizen aged 65 or over at the time of application, the university waives the application fee for you.
3. Tyndale University
If you’re thinking about studying at Tyndale University in Toronto, you’re in luck. Tyndale is not just any university; it’s a Christian institution and boasts Canada’s biggest grad school for theology. Whether you’re looking at bachelor’s, master’s or seminary degrees, Tyndale’s got you covered with a bunch of programmes.
Tyndale is officially recognised as a Designated Learning Institution, which means they’re all set to welcome international students who have study permits.
There are two types of application fees here: one for non-Bachelor of Education programmes and the other for Bachelor of Education. If you’re an international student applying for either, you’ll need to pay a non-refundable application fee of CA$150. But here’s the good news for Canadians and Americans – if you’re applying for a non-Bachelor of Education course, your application is waived. However, if you’re eyeing that Bachelor of Education category, there will be an application fee of CA$75.
4. Booth University
Booth University College in Winnipeg stands out as a gem in 2024 for those seeking quality education without breaking the bank.
Formerly known as The Salvation Army William and Catherine Booth University College, this liberal arts institution has a small student population of just 282.
The campus is organised into four departments, each catering to specific academic disciplines: Business, Social Work, Humanities and Social Studies and Continuing Studies.
What sets Booth apart is its commitment to accessibility, seen in its policy of not charging any application fees for international applicants.
5. Fairleigh Dickinson University
As you pursue higher education in 2024 and seek financial relief during the application process, Fairleigh Dickinson University should be one of the universities you consider.
This private university has established itself as a reputable institution with campuses in both New Jersey and Vancouver, Canada.
Fairleigh Dickinson is committed to fostering inclusivity by offering application fee waivers to eligible candidates.
Students who attend one of the university’s information sessions or virtual open houses can benefit from a waiver of the standard application fee.
6. University of New Brunswick
This is one of the oldest public universities in North America. With a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the university provides students with the best of both worlds – world-class programmes and a personalised, small-university experience.
UNB’s commitment to making higher education accessible is seen through its application fee waiver initiative.
While many Canadian universities offer fee waivers through various recruitment events, UNB’s waiver is specifically tailored to Canadian high school students and international students already enrolled in a Canadian high school.
7. Saint Mary’s University
Founded in 1802, Saint Mary’s is one of Canada’s oldest universities and is ranked #3 among undergraduate universities on the Canada’s Best Schools list by Maclean’s.
It scored highly for student awards, scholarships and bursaries and reputation.
It extends application fee waivers not only to Canadian students but also to international applicants.
8. Algoma University
Algoma University, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is recognised for its student-centred approach and close-knit community.
With a mission to create a transformative and inclusive learning environment, the university is dedicated to breaking down financial barriers for its students.
One notable aspect is the university’s application fee waivers to Canadian and international students, ensuring that all students have equal opportunities to pursue their academic goals.