Tool: Plan your Canadian college budget

In 2013, more than 75,000 International Students were studying in Canadian colleges and institutes (source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada).  In the 2014 Student Center International Student Survey, 46% of international college students indicated that they were very concerned about paying for accommodation during their studies, while 37% felt very concerned about being able to meet basic clothing, food and transportation costs.

We sat down with Veronica Barahona, Communications Manager with the College Student Alliance to talk about how international students can plan their Canadian college budget.

Student Center: Where can international college students begin to look for funding to support their studies in Canada?

V: There are resources available through their respective college International offices, on campus and through their student associations.

Recently the College Student Alliance (CSA) launched a financial planning tool at the beginning of 2015 to help Ontario’s college students find bursaries, scholarships, grants and non-repayable loans in one spot.

Visit to browse 100’s of funding sources available for students (certain criteria apply but many are open to International students!)

Student Center: What is the number one cost-saving tip that you would offer to any college student in Canada?

V: Packing lunch when you can. If you buy lunch + snacks (coffee, juice, cookie etc) everyday, that could add up to about $75/week. Not including if you eat out in the evening or what you do on the weekend.

Try and dedicate about $50/week to groceries and that could give you meals for all 7 days of the week, including snacks. If you can’t give up that coffee every day at least it’s only $10 on top of your budget saving you $15/week which comes to $60/month!

Student Center: How can I organize my college budget?

V: You’re in luck!

The other important thing to note about is that there is a budget calculator that helps you keep track of those expenses mentioned earlier. The site also allows you to to save multiple budgets by creating a login!

Student Center: What is the College Student Alliance? What other services do they offer to students like me?

V: The College Student Alliance (CSA) is an advocacy organization, representing students across the province on issues such as tuition, funding, credit transfers and other issues affecting students.

We work with the student associations that represent you to make sure the student voice is heard at the provincial level.

For more information regarding our organization please visit,, follow us on Twitter @CSA_ON or like us on!

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