Studying in Canada on Limited Financial Resources

If you would like to study in Canada at the post graduate level but think you do not have the necessary financial resources to study in Canada; then think again.  Helen Khan, a Canadian student recruiter from Alberta Rose Education Centre in Lahore says that many graduate students find grad studies less stressful than their undergraduate studies because they have more funds available to cover the cost of studying in Canada.

There are several research related ways a graduate student may be able to cover their costs.  All of these options are worth checking out so you will know if you have enough money to study in Canada.

University Funding Packages:

Many universities have guaranteed funding packages that usually range around $12,000 to $18,000 per year.  What that means is that they will not take you as a graduate student unless they can also provide you with some funding.  Some of these funds may come from the department or university or they may be part of your supervisor’s research grant.

Some of the universities cannot guarantee this funding but they will be upfront and let you know right away if they can support you or not.

Teaching Assistantships:

Another way you can earn money will studying is to be a teaching assistant whereby you will be an instructor in a lab class or seminar, etc.  You do need to have good English skills though.

Research Assistantships:

Your supervisor may have you work on one of his research projects for which he will have a substantial grant.  Granting agencies allow researchers a certain percentage of the grant to be used for paying one or more graduate students to work on the research project.


There are always internal (university related) and external (government or private industry) scholarships.  There are a number of prestigious scholarships offered to international students who are citizens of developing countries.  That means that Pakistan will fall under that category.  This list of scholarships is worth looking at as the funding can be substantial.  After you click on the link, select Pakistan from the dropdown box.  Certain conditions and rules apply but there may be a scholarship just for you.

So before you give up on studying in Canada because of lack of funds, make sure to check out all your options.  If you want to use the services of a Canadian consultant in Pakistan they will also be able to give you some good advice and help you select a university that focuses on your research interest.



4 thoughts on “Studying in Canada on Limited Financial Resources

  1. Naghmana Shahid

    It would be wonderful studying in Canada . I have done MA linguistics and literature both . Would love to go abroad for further studies . Do let me know if there is an age band /limit . [ I am 48 at this moment ] I have a linkedin page by the name of Naghmana Khokher . Thanks for this wonderful piece of information . with regards from : Naghmana Shahid .

    1. Helen Khan Post author

      There isn’t really an age limit, although I suspose Canada Immigration may turn down a senior. Mature international students do study in Canada, especially at the graduate level.

      Therefore you will want to start planning your course of action. What do you want to study? Is it something you can use in your country of origin? What are your costs (outside a scholarhips or university funding)?

      There are many questions you will want to start asking yourself and working on to attain your goal of studying in Canada.


    AoA ! It is my request please forward your trustworthy response to my questions.
    I am a student who is intended to apply for a Canadian university, want to ask some questions (Your precious answers can save me from ruining my life and money of my parents) as you guys live there you know better.I belong to a financially necessitous family and thinking to move here to finance and support my family besides my studies with aim of achieving remarkable results in studies?

    1.I have done 2 years of Bachelors of ELectrical Engineering at UET Pakistan and want to complete rest of 2 years in any cheaper and well reputed Canadian university (UBC or uni of Alberta). Do Canadian univrsities allow transfer of credits.

    2.ALHAMDULILLAH I have brilliant academia until now.. I dont say i am a bright student but ALHAMDULILLAH i am hard worker with some gifted talents, can I make my way to a scholarship on the basis of neediness or merit or ielts(if good score)?

    3. My parents have very few savings to support me in the processing for Canadian visa.I am planning to apply through an agent therefore a little bit afraid of fraudulent activity.
    My agent says u cannot get scholarship while being in Pakistan but after landing in Canada if you show good results to university you may ask your counselor of that university in getting a scholarship..Is he true guys?

    4.Can I get loans (Uni, banks or Gov) there, Incase if I need them for survival?

    5. I want to finance my studies ,living in Canada plus my family in Pakistan by doing part time jobs in Canada. Is it easy for an engineering student to do jobs and equally participate in his studies in aim of achieving good results in studies?can I survive there without being “workhorse”? as I want to focus on my career.

    Can I easily finance my studies with living doing part time jobs?

    6. I have heard that after landing in canada a student is not allowed to do off campus jobs..but he can do on-campus jobs in university. So would that on-campus be sufficient to finance living and savings for the next semesters fees?

    7. Getting PR there is really a “GAMBLE”? even for bright ones, Is it really hard or easy? As I am applying for 2 years transfer study in CANADA will i then be eligible for PR on 2 years stay in canada?

    8.What is the scope of Electrical Eng in Canada?
    9.Incase after getting PR, is there demand for Electrical engineers?
    10. Locals there are really racist? do they really hate all South asians or only Indians?
    11. after my graduation, will I be able to support my family (Financially)?

    1. Helen Khan Post author

      I will try to answer all your questions in the same order has you have asked them:
      1. It is possible to complete your final year (years) in Canada at a good university. There are some reasonably priced universities in Canada that have a good reputation but UBC and the University of Alberta rank high on the world scale and are more expensive than some smaller universities that still give a quality education. These are the U of Lethbridge, U of Regina, Manitoba and Memorial University.
      2. You have indicated that you have good marks. You will need a minimum GPA of 2.5 out of 4 to qualify for admission to a university in Canada.
      3. Agency Services – Then I would suggest my services for an agent as I work in Pakistan. I am very straightforward and will advise you correctly as to what you can and cannot do in Canada. Also my rates are reasonable.
      4. Scholarships – Unless you have exceptional marks it is difficult to get a scholarship before going to Canada, but it is not impossible to do so. You would have to check with the university where you get admission. Universities do have entrance scholarships which are available to internationals students too. But if you keep your marks high, it is possible to get on the dean’s honor list for a scholarship, or be eligible for other scholarships. One just has to explore what is available for you. So in a way he is right. But for scholarships you need really good marks so you would need a minimum of a 3 GPA for scholarship purposes.
      5. You can get loans but they are not through the government. I would advise not to get a loan as the interest is compound and you still have to pay it back at the end of the day. Some universities have emergency bursaries for their international students, but again it might be $500; maybe $1000 if you are lucky.
      6. You are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while a student; therefore you would not be able to finance your education by working. It would supplement your income and help cover costs, but will not cover all your expenses. You might earn anywhere from $10 per hour to $20 per hour. So even assuming that you make the minimum of $200 per week that is only $800 per month which will cover your monthly cost of living – you still have your tuition. But since you are in engineering, I would suggest you try to enter a co-op program as you will then have a work term while going to university. You would be ‘interning’ as an engineer student and make some good money. You may even get a summer job working in an engineering firm which would also give a big boost to your income.
      7. The government allows a student to work on campus for the 1st 6 months and then he/she can work on or off campus after that. And no, you probably would not make enough to cover your tuition for the next semester.
      8. Permanent Residence – getting a PR is not a gamble. If you work hard at university, get good marks and obeys Immigration Canada rules and policies, then getting a PR is easy. In fact the Canadian government has many work incentives to keep its international student graduates in Canada. To get a PR you have to be in Canada 3 years, so you would have to work after you graduate and then apply for your PR.
      9. Canada is a very industrial country with a growing economy so we NEED electrical engineers.
      10. Canada is not a racist country at all. We have a federal policy of multiculturalism which ensures respect to all. Many Indians and Pakistanis work in a diversity of professions and employment is based on credentials not looks or ethnicity. We have mosques in all major centres. That doesn’t say that no one is racist, but that is generally not our nature, we are an accepting people.
      11. After graduation you will certainly be able to support your family. You will struggle while in school, but you will get a very decent salary upon graduation.


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