Scholarships and awards
Many career colleges in Canada offer internally and externally administered scholarships for incoming students. Career college scholarships typically range in value from $250 - $1,000 and are awarded to outstanding new students. Bursaries may also be available to students and are more typically based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need and/or achievement in other areas such as leadership and community service.

Career college scholarships for international students may be offered by professional organizations, local businesses, national business chains, charitable foundations and the Canadian provincial and federal governments. Many private career colleges also have internal scholarships and bursaries. This is made possible thanks to monetary gifts and endowments from former grads to support the school: enrolling in a career college means becoming part of the community.

Sometimes international students can apply for the same general entrance awards as Canadian students (although some are restricted to Canadian residents), and there may be specific entrance scholarships reserved solely for international students. In some cases, international students are automatically considered for these entrance scholarships when they apply. In other cases, scholarships are competitive and you must apply by a specific deadline. Eligibility and application requirements vary from one institution to another; therefore, it's important to consult the international student section and/ or the scholarship and financial assistance section of each career college website. Some scholarships are available to students--sometimes specifically international students--entering a particular program of study (such as trades and technology or fine arts), so check with the program department as well.

Many professional organizations in Canada will provide scholarships as a way of promoting their profession and ensuring the development of future professionals. Once you know which area you plan to study in, research the professional associations of that career and see if they offer scholarships. For example, in the field of culinary, travel and hospitality you could check with The Canadian Hospitality Foundation or Les Dames d'Escoffier International (who award scholarships to women building a career in the fields of food, wine and hospitality).

Examples of some international student scholarships available at Canadian post-secondary institutions:

  • Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program (CCSP) and Government of Canada Awards (GCA)

  • College and Undergraduate Student Exchange Program (CUSEP)

  • International Student Humanitarian Award (awarded to students from impoverished or war-torn areas)

  • International Leader of Tomorrow Award

  • Programme canadien de bourses de la Francophonie

  • Ambassdorial Scholarships (Rotary Foundation)

  • Not all of these awards may apply to career college programs, so be sure to research thoroughly.

    Financial assistance
    Bursaries ranging from $500 to $1,000 are also sometimes available for international students who demonstrate financial need and reasonable academic standing. Bursaries may be given out as emergency assistance for basic educational expenses if the student's original financial sources have fallen through.

    Visa students are not eligible for the Canadian Federal or Provincial student loan program but should look at what assistance may be offered through their own country. Loan assistance is often available through the International Education Finance Corporation (IEFC).