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### Affordable Ontario Universities: Top 10 Budget-Friendly Options

Affordable colleges in Ontario are the ideal choice for individuals seeking cost-effective higher education options without compromising quality.

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The cost of tuition for higher education is substantial worldwide, including in Canada. Many individuals aspire to earn a degree from a Canadian college; however, the escalating tuition expenses often impede their aspirations. If you are among those aspiring to pursue higher education in Canada, relocating to the province of Ontario could be a viable option. Ontario is home to 22 public universities, 24 public colleges, and 17 private colleges.

This article will delve into the inexpensive colleges in Ontario, focusing on the educational opportunities in Ottawa. Additionally, we will examine their tuition fees and specialized programs. For further insights and a comprehensive guide on exploring budget-friendly options, particularly in Ottawa, refer to our article.

Admission Criteria for Ontario University

The admission prerequisites for Ontario universities may vary based on the specific institution and program to which you are applying. Nonetheless, there are general criteria for admission to an Ontario university.

  • Educational Background: Typically, eligibility for undergraduate admission to an Ontario university necessitates an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or its equivalent.
  • English Proficiency: In most cases, non-native English speakers are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language, often through standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Program-Specific Requirements: Certain programs may mandate completion of specific high school courses relevant to the field of study. For instance, a calculus course might be a prerequisite for a Computer Science program.
  • Minimum Grade Criteria: Universities generally establish a minimum grade threshold for admission, typically ranging from 65% to 80%, subject to variation based on the institution and program.

Top 10 Economical Colleges in Ontario and Their Tuition Fees

Colleges Domestic Tuition Fees International Tuition Fees
1. Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology From CAD $2,000 (Per semester) From CAD $7,000 (Per semester)
2. Algoma University CAD $3,000 (Per semester) From CAD $9,500 (Per semester)
3. Dominican University College From CAD $2,200 (Per semester) From CAD $7,220 (Per semester)
4. University of Windsor From CAD $2,900 (Per semester) From CAD $15,000 (Per semester)
5. Ryerson University From CAD $7,000 (Per year) From CAD $30,000 (Per year)
6. Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology From CAD $2,900 (Per year) From CAD $15,000 (Per year)
7. Lakehead University From CAD $6,000 (Per year) From CAD $26,500 (Per year)
8. University of Guelph From CAD $6,091 (Per year) From CAD $14,442 (Per year)
9. Brock University Tuition fees vary by program: From CAD $19,938 From CAD $26,558 (Per year)
10. Laurentian University From CAD $6,000 From CAD $27,258 (Per year)

1. Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology

  • Type: Public college
  • Established: 1967
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Accreditation: Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Rank: 18th overall in Canada
  • Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Founded in 1967, Cambrian College is the largest institution in Northern Ontario. It stands out as one of the most economical universities in Ontario, with an enrollment of over 4,100 full-time students across 80 programs. Offering a diverse range of programs from Business and Engineering Technology to Community Services and the Creative Arts, Cambrian provides a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience at its campuses in Sudbury, Espanola, and Little Current.

The college boasts a significant number of international students who benefit from small class sizes and dedicated faculty. Cambrian College disburses more than $500,000 in scholarships and bursaries annually to assist over a thousand students.

2. Algoma University

  • Type: Public university
  • Established: 1965
  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Accreditation: Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities of Ontario
  • Rank: Ranked 1558th globally in the QS World Rankings 2022
  • Location: Ontario, Canada

Established in 1965, Algoma University is a public university offering bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificate programs in Liberal Arts, Sciences, and professional disciplines. With campuses in Timmins, Brampton, and Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma University is another cost-effective educational institution in Ontario that prioritizes effective teaching and learning, with a particular focus on fostering cross-cultural learning experiences among indigenous communities and other groups.

This undergraduate-centric university accommodates approximately 1,400 students with a faculty-to-student ratio of 1:14. Students can select from around 20 diverse programs at Algoma University, with programs in Community Development, Computer Science, and Environmental Science being highly regarded. The university offers various scholarships ranging from \(500 to \)16,000 to both Canadian and international students.

3. Dominican University College

Dominican University CollegeDominican University College

  • Type: Public institution
  • Established: 1900
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Rank: 201-250 in QS US Universities Ranking 2021
  • Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Situated in Ottawa, Canada, Dominican University College is a bilingual institution established in 1900 by the Dominican Order of Preachers. It offers a rich historical background coupled with a focus on ethical studies and critical thinking. Renowned for its intimate class settings and a faculty-to-student ratio of 1:7, this economical university in Ontario encourages close interaction and academic excellence. With approximately 250 full-time and part-time students, DUC is affiliated with Carleton University since 2012 and is recognized as a top-tier research institution specializing in theology and philosophy.

4. University of Windsor

University of WindsorUniversity of Windsor

  • Type: Public research university
  • Established: 1962
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Rank: 601-800 in THE University Ranking 2023
  • Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada

University of Windsor, a public research university established in 1962, accommodates over 17,500 students. Situated in southern Canada, the university provides a dynamic learning environment with a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs spanning disciplines like Business, Engineering, Law, Nursing, and Social Sciences.

The campus, located east of the Ambassador Bridge on 125 acres, maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 26:1. This cost-effective university in Ontario disburses over $10 million in scholarships, awards, and bursaries annually to support its student body.

5. Ryerson University

  • Type: Public research university
  • Established: 1948
  • Acceptance Rate: 25 – 30%
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Rank: Ranks 801-1000 globally
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Formerly known as Ryerson University, TMU is a public research institution located in Toronto, Canada. Renowned for its innovative, career-focused educational approach, Ryerson University, founded in 1948, is the most sought-after university in the province in terms of applications. With a student population exceeding 46,500 enrolled in over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, the university maintains approximately 5% international student representation.

The institution excels in Biomedical Sciences, Aerospace Engineering, and Creative Industries programs. Ryerson University allocates over $4 million annually towards entrance scholarships for student support.

6. Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology

Centennial CollegeCentennial College

  • Type: Public college
  • Established: 1966
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Rank: 77th in Country Rankings
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Established in 1966, Centennial College is the oldest public college in Ontario, offering 400+ diploma, degree, and certificate programs aimed at preparing students for professional careers. Its comprehensive program portfolio includes bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations Management, Nursing, and Information Technology.

With five campuses across Toronto, the primary campus situated in Scarborough, the college enrolls over 44,300 students, including 11,000 exchange and international students from 137 countries. Annually, Centennial College awards more than $3.5 million in scholarships and bursaries to support local and international students.

7. Lakehead University

  • Type: Public research university
  • Established: 1965
  • Acceptance Rate: 82%
  • Rank: 801-1000 globally in THE University Ranking 2023
  • Location: Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ontario, Canada

With campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, Lakehead University is a public research institution in Ontario, Canada, fostering a vibrant learning environment for over 8,300 students. Recognized for its exceptional teaching practices and student-centric approach, the university offers 85+ undergraduate and graduate programs, with Computer Science and Engineering programs standing out.

Lakehead University disburses over $11 million annually in scholarships, bursaries, and awards to support its student community.

8. University of Guelph

University of GuelphUniversity of Guelph

  • Type: Public research university
  • Established: 1964
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Rank: 486th in the QS World University Rankings 2024
  • Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada

University of Guelph (U of G), a public research university established in 1964, prioritizes Agriculture and Food Science disciplines. With a student body exceeding 29,500 across its main campus, agricultural research center, and Toronto satellite school, U of G is renowned for its programs in Agricultural Science, Food Science, and Life Sciences.

This economical university in Ontario offers a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in Arts, Science, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, and Business.

9. Brock University

Brock UniversityBrock University

  • Type: Public university
  • Established: 1964
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Rank: 1394 in Best Global Universities
  • Location: St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Situated in St. Catharines, Ontario, Brock University is a public research university providing over 70 undergraduate and 50 graduate programs to its 19,000 students. The university offers programs in Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, Business, Education, and Health Sciences, emphasizing career readiness through co-op programs and experiential learning opportunities.

10. Laurentian University

Laurentian UniversityLaurentian University

  • Type: Public university
  • Established: 1960
  • Acceptance Rate: 70% – 80%
  • Rank: 1416 globally in the QS World Rankings 2022
  • Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Laurentian University, a bilingual public university founded in 1960, offers over 175 undergraduate and graduate programs. Known for its intimate class sizes and personalized student support, the university, located in Sudbury, Ontario, specializes in Commerce, Mining, Engineering, and Health programs. With an impressive graduate employment rate and a diverse learning community, Laurentian University is an excellent choice for pursuing higher education.


1. What is the average rent for international students in Toronto?

International students in Toronto typically pay between CAD 1,100 and CAD 2,700 in monthly rent. Additional monthly expenses for food, groceries, internet, electricity, phone services, clothing, and transportation should also be considered.

2. Which diplomas are cost-effective in Canada?

Diplomas in Interior Decoration, Digital Marketing, Health Management, Cybersecurity, and Event Management are among the most economical options in Canada.

3. Is studying at a university in Northern Ontario more affordable?

Tuition fees at universities in Northern Ontario are often lower than those in Southern Ontario; however, the overall cost of living can vary based on the specific location.

4. Are scholarships and financial aid available for students in Ontario?

Yes, numerous scholarships and financial aid programs are accessible to students in Ontario, contingent on academic performance, financial need, or chosen field of study.


Inexpensive colleges in Ontario serve as gateways to higher education for individuals facing financial constraints. These colleges provide access to quality education without the burden of exorbitant tuition fees.

By offering affordable tuition, scholarships, and financial aid, these institutions enable students to acquire a top-notch education without incurring substantial debt. Furthermore, they foster innovation, attract international talent, and cultivate a skilled workforce, all of which contribute to the province’s economic growth.