I'm not sure if this question is off-topic here, but I have applied to some Canadian master's economics programs as an international student along with my Canadian classmates. Even though I have a better academic record than they do, I didn't get into the schools with as much funding as my Canadian classmates. My question is why is it so? Based on my knowledge and experience, I don't think that schools in US have this type of a double standard policy, as I received enough funding from some public universities there. I know I could be wrong as I may well be generalizing.

  • It's really impossible to say why your friends were offered more funding - there are many factors that go into this determination. I definitely would not assume it's because they are Canadian. – ff524 Mar 3 '14 at 3:51
  • @ff524 If other factors are even considered then I'm surely at an advantage: I am a Co-President of the university's economics society, TAed for two years and was a Research Assistant last summer. To top it off, I also got published in a top undergraduate journal as possibly the only Canadian student. Now unlike American schools, Canadian schools only look at your grades. I even discussed this with my prof and he agreed with me, but he didn't explain why this is the case. I think the schools in the States clearly judged my application holistically. – OGC Mar 3 '14 at 3:58
  • In addition, I think they also considered that I am a citizen of a developing/poor country, which is why a decent amount of funding is important. – OGC Mar 3 '14 at 4:03
  • You're right, I looked up a few Canadian schools and it seems some sources of funding are available only to Canadians (e.g., yorku.ca/grads/money_matters/york_awards.html) – ff524 Mar 3 '14 at 4:04
  • @ff524 Yes, but why do they do it? Isn't it discriminatory? In Canada, an international student has to pay twice as much as the domestic students, and they claim that it's because of the students' parents paying taxes, which I agree. But bringing in admissions and funding into this is deplorable. And it's not only in Canada, other schools of Commonwealth countries seem to follow this policy. – OGC Mar 3 '14 at 4:12

Without knowing the details of your classmates funding, it's difficult to say whether there's bias. Having said that, Canadian students will be at a definite advantage when trying to get funding at a Canadian University.

For some students, funding at the Masters level will be formed from multiple sources:

  1. Government Scholarships. Some of these are open to international students, others are not. For example, the NSERC Vanier scholarships accept international applicants, but the NSERC CGS M does not.
  2. University scholarships: These are typically funded from a variety of sources which will have varying requirements. Some must go to students from Canada, some must go to international students, some are purely merit based.
  3. TA/RA-ships. My experience is that these typically aren't restricted based on international status, but I can't say for sure.

So, it's easy enough to imagine that your friends funding could simply include scholarship money that is unavailable to you as an international student. Most universities realize that international students aren't on perfectly even footing, and will have sections of their websites dedicated to funding for international students. This could be of great help for you, though the money might not come soon enough for you to be able to make it work.

Another thing to mention, is that some countries have scholarships for outgoing international scholars. These vary hugely, but should also be considered.


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