July 25, 2014

The cost of being a student in Canada – and where to find online courses

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The Cost of Being a Student in Canada

vouchercloud is a Canadian discount coupon website and they have just launched a selection of student specific coupons. They have produced the above infographic focusing on the cost of being a student in Canada. (Note the date: fees change over time).

My advice for Canadian students: shop around for online programs from established and recognized Canadian universities and colleges, even if they are out of province. For instance, some high quality professional online masters programs can be found at less than these prices, although finding fully online undergraduate programs at a lower cost will be more difficult.

Athabasca University, in Alberta, and Thompson Rivers University’s Open Learning in British Columbia offer both undergraduate and graduate programs online. Royal Roads University in British Columbia offers mainly masters programs online, with a residential component. None of these universities requires you to be resident within their province.

For students in Ontario, try Contact North’s Ontario Online Learning Portal for Students

For students in Alberta, try: e-Campus Alberta

For students in British Columbia, try: CoursesBC (note: shows only courses, not programs)

For Manitoba, try: Campus Manitoba

Québec is a bit more complicated, but if you are francophone, try REFAD’s liste de cours à distance en français au Canada.

Other provinces are small enough that it’s not difficult to check with each institution. For instance, both Nova Scotia Community College and New Brunswick Community College have their own portals for online courses, but Nova Scotia’s universities (and there are quite a few) do not yet have a single portal.

However, not all institutions list their online and distance courses/programs on these portals (although most two-year colleges do), so you should also check with individual institutions, using ‘online courses’ or ‘distance education’ as search terms. In most cases, institutions in Canada charge the same fee for online as for campus courses/programs – but not always, so check.

Also check on the ability to transfer credits and qualifications across provinces, if you register for an ‘out-of-province’ course or program. Ontario can be particularly difficult about transferring in qualifications from other provinces – or even between institutions within Ontario. Alberta and British Columbia on the other hand have extensive credit transfer arrangements between their institutions.

Lastly, if you don’t want a full degree, look at the online programs being offered as certificates or diplomas from the Continuing Education or Extension departments of the individual institutions. These are more ‘open’ than the undergraduate and masters programs, although they are not always cheaper. Also, the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, and the University of Toronto offer a small number of MOOCs (massive open online courses) for free, but these are not for credit.

If you are a student outside Canada, you are likely to be charged a great deal more for taking online programs that lead to degree qualifications than Canadian students, and may not be accepted – this will depend on your other qualifications. You will need to contact the Registrar at each institution. And do not ask me to recommend an individual university or college in Canada. If it’s a public university funded by the provincial government – and this covers most universities in Canada – it will be reputable.

Lastly, have I missed any province or territory’s online portal? If so, let me know.

Also, let me know your experience in trying to find online courses or programs in Canada.

Perhaps in time, there will be a one-stop shopping portal for all Canadian online courses from public universities and colleges, but it’s a federal system where provinces have complete autonomy regarding post-secondary education, so don’t hold your breath.

 

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