There are several financial matters that you should consider in preparation for living in Toronto. The information on this page will help you to start thinking about how to manage your money.
Budget and expenses
One of the most common questions international students ask is "How much money do I need?" There are three costs which you will need to consider when planning your studies at U of T:
- Tuition fees
- Incidental fees
- Living and studying costs (including books)
The University offers a financial planning calculator that may help you with your personal finances.
Please see the tuition fee schedule posted by the Office of the Vice-President and Provost. These fees are for a full academic year (two terms) and full course load.
Tuition fees vary by program of study, year of entry and registration status. Please make sure to look at the fees for international students and for your specific program and year of entry.
Some international students in very specific situations may be eligible to apply for an exemption from international student fees. There are rules and conditions for these exemptions as outlined on the Student Accounts website as listed for 2017-2018.
Incidental fees are compulsory non-academic fees which pay for the many facilities, activities and services which are open to you at the University. Since many of these things are provided at the faculty, college or school level, these fees vary depending on where you are enrolled. International students pay the same incidental fees as domestic students.
Living and studying costs
ATTENTION: Child Care Subsidy Update
Municipalities offer childcare subsidies to help Canadian citizens, landed immigrants or refugees with the cost of childcare. Please note that in Ontario, temporary residents are not eligible for government social service programs, like child care subsidies, and so should not expect to be eligible for a child care subsidy.
In the City of Toronto an applicant for a child care subsidy must submit their most recent Canadian income tax return; and if the applicant is not a Canadian citizen, landed immigrant or refugee they must also provide proof that their application for permanent residence is in progress. Please contact the Family Care Office if you have questions.
Posted February 7, 2017.
Taxes and tipping
Taxes and tipping add extra costs to many purchases in Canada.
Most goods and services are taxed in Canada. In Ontario, the tax is called Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and is a combination of a federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Ontario Sales Tax (OST). This tax is added to the cost of an item. The original price is often what is advertised on the item or service, but you should expect an additional tax — 13% in Ontario — added to your final bill.
In addition, most Canadians tip for certain kinds of services. Generally speaking, people tip 10-15% for service like taxi cabs, hair dressing and tour guides. People generally tip a little higher (15-20% on the total before taxes) for table service at restaurant. For service at a restaurant counter or coffee shop, it's common to see a "tip jar" for small tips.
If you are planning to work while you are in Canada, you will have to pay income tax on your earnings. Any money you earn in Canada is subject to Canadian income tax – this includes income from University employment such as Graduate Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships. You will have to file an income-tax return before April 30th each year, which may entitle you to a tax return or to be eligible for some benefits.
Paying your student fees
Most of your student fees will appear on Acorn, your student account. It's important that you meet all fees deadlines in order to avoid late penalties and to maintain your registration status at the University.
Many students open a Canadian bank account to pay their fees. If you need to make your payment from a bank account outside of Canada, you can find information about how to do so on the Student Accounts website.
Accessing money in Canada
When researching your banking options, you should consider the following:
Talk to your bank in your home country before you leave, and find out whether they have a branch in Canada
Find out what kind of banking fees are applicable to using ATMs overseas, transferring funds to international accounts and any other useful services
Alert your credit card company that you will be living abroad for a period of time
Banks in Canada offer many services to account holders, including online, teller, and in-person tuition and residence fee payment options, and direct deposit of refund payments. The following are some major Canadian Banks you may wish to research:
Scotiabank (offers the option of setting up a Canadian bank account before arriving in Canada)
The Canadian Bankers Association provides information on financial information and services for newcomers to Canada.
To set up a new bank account after you arrive in Canada, the bank will require you to show 2 pieces of identification (e.g. passport, study permit, driver's licence), one of which must be photo identification.
Scholarships, loans and bursaries
As a student attending the University of Toronto you may be eligible for awards and scholarships. We encourage you to research the possibilities available to you.
There are also external awards that support students to study in Canada, including International Scholarships, a site maintained by the Canadian Government.