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Canadian & Scottish Universities - Costs for Americans

St. Andrews graduation on a campus that is one of the prettiest in Europe and adjacent to the birthplace of golf.

Recognizing
Great Students
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Simon Fraser =>
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Members of SFU's women's baseball team join Canada's national team.

American students in Canada & Scotland find college much less expensive than our American universities. At current exchange rates, assuming tuition in a school of arts & sciences, a double room with a full meal plan, books and all fees, including health insurance, for a full academic year:

  • The TOTAL cost of all expenses at Canada's most selective and costly universities, McGill University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, are roughly $24,000, $25,000 and $27,000 per year, respectively, in US dollars. All three of these universities consistently rank among the top 10 universities in North America.

  • The TOTAL cost of all expenses for an American at the University of St. Andrews, is only $27,600 per year. St. Andrews, founded in 1410, and still on a friendly, compact campus is a world-class research university with humanities and physical sciences departments that rank among the best in Britain. 20% of the student body is from outside Europe and all students live in small dormitories with resident graduate students as advisors. A number of those dormitories are renovated hotels that overlook the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.

  • In contrast to that ancient town on the coast of the North Sea, Edinburgh offers Americans a similarly warm welcome in a modern urban environment. And similar cost advantages; the TOTAL dollar cost of a 34-week academic year at the University of Edinburgh is only $26,000. Founded in 1583, Edinburgh is a world-class research university with academic departments judged to rank among the best in Britain. Half of all students and 75% of first-year students ("freshers") live in a complex of nine residence halls that require their residents to take full meal plans and offer something rare on American college campuses: PRIVACY. 99% of all freshers live in single bedrooms and 25% of those rooms have private bathrooms!


  • In contrast, the average annual budget for selective American colleges is more than $46,000.

  • Average total costs at US state universities for in-state students are $18,200; for students who go to another state's public university, total costs average $26,500.

  • In Western Canada, where living costs are lower, even more exceptional values abound. 

And there is US Government financial aid!  While there is essentially NO financial aid for foreign students, virtually all Canadian & Scottish universities are accredited by US accreditation agencies.  So American citizens and permanent residents there have the same access to US Federal:

  • HOPE Scholarships;
  • Student Financial Assistance Programs (including FFELP loans, subsidized Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans); and
  • Lifetime Learning tax credits.

Can this last?  Yes. The reasons for the lower costs are structural. In Canada and in Scotland, university students benefit from:

  • Lower operating costs;
  • Government control of tuition and capital expenses at all universities through direct appropriation to the campuses (not through grants or subsidized loans to students, as in the US);
  • A desire to increase the presence of international students, not only to offer a more diverse experience to all students, but also because these universities are allowed to retain and invest all the tuition and fee income from international students; and
  • the exchange rate between US and Canadian dollars and the British Pound has historically favored the US dollar even more than current exchange rates. (In fact, just three years ago, the Canadian dollar was 25% cheaper than it is today!)

Canadian & Scottish Universities - The Differences

Canadian & Scottish Universities - The Benefits

Canadian & Scottish Universities - The Costs

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