Recent economic hardships have derailed many families' college plans, prompting some to stop saving and others to start considering less expensive colleges. For students still determined to attend a prestigious university, another option has been gaining traction. According to an article in The Boston Globe, applications from American students are up at many of Canada's top universities, indicating a new surge in an already growing trend.
Since 2001, the number of Americans attending Canadian universities increased by 50 percent, and based on current trends in applications and increased recruiting efforts, growth is expected to continue. Americans choosing to study abroad in Canada are still eligible for federal student financial aid, even if they attend college abroad for all four years. And even international tuition in Canada ($14,487 on average) is cheap right now when compared to private college tuition ($19,337 on average) and even out-of-state tuition at some state colleges in the United States.
Studying in Canada also removes many of the traditional barriers faced by international students. Many Americans studying in Canada can cheaply and easily return home for holidays. Students are instructed in English at the majority of Canadian colleges and universities, signs around town will also be in English, and for the most part, accents are not even very pronounced. Despite their proximity to home, though, students still benefit from being immersed in another culture, and since many of Canada's top schools are situated in urban settings, Canadian universities also present an opportunity to experience life in a big city.
However, the bargain is dependent on exchange rates. When the American and Canadian dollars are approximately equal in value, studying in Canada becomes relatively more expensive, as does living in Canada. Also, while some college scholarships can be applied to tuition at Canadian universities, many stipulate that applicants must be attending college in the United States. While studying abroad in Canada is an option to consider when looking for ways to get the most educational value for your dollar, be sure to weigh all your alternatives. Regardless of where you wind up, though, there are scholarship opportunities and other ways to help pay for school.