In this post we will discuss and list out factual data for the best destination between Canada vs the United States Higher Education for Indian Students in 2024.
Between Canada and the United States (U.S.), there are an estimated 1.57 million international students, and tens of thousands more are expected to come to North America each year to pursue higher education.
Many of these students will have to decide whether to study in the United States or Canada. Although the two countries are similar in terms of educational quality and employment prospects after graduation, there are significant disparities in tuition, financial assistance, and post-graduate immigration chances that have made Canada a popular choice for international students.
While educational programs and institutions vary greatly in quality, there are some noteworthy similarities between higher education in the United States and Canada.
The top student cities worldwide were ranked in 2023 by QS, a globally renowned higher education analytics firm. Three of the top 20 slots were occupied by Canadian cities (Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver), and two were occupied by American cities (New York City and Boston). This suggests that, at least in the cities that comprise respective post-secondary educational hubs, the quality of education in both nations is generally comparable.
Even if this is useful, what happens if we examine the data individually for each country?
According to a recent survey by the international education group IDP (International Development Project), which specializes in student placement in Canada, Australia, and the US, Canada was by far the most popular study location among foreign students: Of those surveyed, 27% said that Canada was their top option. In contrast, only 15% of respondents chose the United States, which came in fourth place, behind the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Australia, respectively.
Are there any other explanations for why international students overwhelmingly chose Canada over the United States if the quality of education is about the same?
The price of tuition has a major role in where one studies abroad. The average cost of an education in the United States ranges from $20,000 to $60,000 USD, depending on the student’s field of study and whether they attend a public or private university.
In contrast, depending on the institution and degree of study, the average cost of post-secondary education in Canada ranges from $20,000 to $40,000 CAD. But take note of the monetary disparity. International students find Canada to be a desirable destination due to its more favorable exchange rate with foreign currencies and less average tuition rates—especially when compared to the U.S.
International students could also think about bursaries and scholarships that are offered. There are state-supported and institution-specific scholarships available in the US for overseas students, but there are no federally sponsored initiatives that provide financial aid to these students. Student loans are also available to foreign students studying in the United States, but they will require a cosigner who is either a citizen or permanent resident of the country and has good credit.
In the meantime, Canadian federal, provincial, and university-level bursaries and scholarships for overseas students are frequently far easier to apply for than equivalent U.S. programs. International students may also decide to take out a private loan with a Canadian bank, provided they meet the requirements for the prior financial aid alternatives. International students may find it easier to repay these loans because they frequently have student-specific interest rates.
Opportunities for employment for international students
With a few notable exceptions, the work outcomes for overseas students in Canada and the United States were essentially the same.
For instance, 62% of 1,095 international alumni surveyed by World Education News + Review (WENR) reported finding full-time work following graduation. Additionally, the National Bureau of Economic Research discovered that around 23% of Master’s degree holders were able to find employment in their state of study.
In contrast, a 2022 and 2023 survey by Statistics Canada discovered that the average full-time employment rate for international graduates across all educational levels was around 73%.
In conclusion, job results are essentially identical even though Canada has a significantly greater participation rate of foreign graduates in the workforce.
Options for immigration
But for many, employment offers more than simply a source of income; it’s a gateway to permanent immigration to the nation of study.
While it can be challenging to obtain a green card for permanent residency (PR) in the United States, international students studying in Canada find it much easier to remain permanently, as there are clear pathways to PR available upon graduation.
After graduation, an international student’s route to a green card in the United States often follows one of three paths:
- Apply for the same visa as an individual with exceptional ability, or apply as an immigrant worker (economic immigrant) under one of five “preference” categories;
- Apply as an immigrant investor or as a
- S. citizen’s spouse or fiancé.
While foreign students can temporarily extend their stay in the United States as foreign workers through a variety of alternatives, there are fewer avenues for subsequently acquiring a green card. It should be noted that only 140,000 economic immigrants per year are eligible for a green card (across all three “preference” streams), and this figure does not include the spouses and dependents of immigrants who have been granted approval. It is common for the actual number of immigrants accepted to this stream to fall short of the declared cap.
In contrast, it is typically significantly easier for foreign students to immigrate to Canada. A Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) may be applied for by students who have completed an approved program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) for at least a year. With this type of open work permit, graduates can work for practically any company and in the majority of industries. Following a minimum of one year of work experience in Canada, international students may choose to pursue any of the following routes to permanent residence:
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) pathway under Express Entry is intended for immigrants with work experience in Canada who wish to apply for permanent residency;
- The Quebec Experience Program, which is intended for immigrants with prior work and educational experience in Quebec;
- Spousal sponsorship, which is available to immigrants who have married a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Provincial Nominee Program, which permits individual provinces to nominate immigrants to settle in their province, with many of these provinces having specialized streams for international graduates.
Canada is becoming one of the most popular overseas study destinations due to its immigration prospects, internationally recognized educational institutions, affordable tuition, many financial assistance choices, and favorable employment outcomes. Many people see education as a means of achieving a better life, and Canada is in a unique position to provide this chance to international students due to its immigration laws.
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