Fully Funded Scholarships in Canada for Undergraduates

Thinking about pursuing your undergraduate degree but worried about costs? Fully funded scholarships are a great option to explore. By fully funded, we mean scholarships that cover 100% of tuition fees and living expenses. Landing one of these prestigious awards can make a Canadian university education completely free. However, they are also highly competitive, so you’ll need excellent grades, extracurricular involvement, leadership experience, and a strong application.

Understanding Key Terms

Domestic vs. International Students

When discussing scholarships in Canada, it’s important to distinguish between domestic and international students:

  • Domestic students: Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and Indigenous students living in Canada. They qualify for the highest level of funding opportunities as Canadians/permanent residents.
  • International students: Students who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. International applicants have fewer scholarship options available to them compared to domestic students. However, there are still excellent international scholarship programs.

Undergraduate vs. Graduate Degrees

This guide focuses specifically on undergraduate degree programs (bachelor’s degrees):

  • Undergraduate degrees: Usually take 3-4 years to complete. Examples include a BA, BSc, and BComm. Undergraduate scholarships are generally intended for students enrolled in a first-degree program.
  • Graduate degrees: Require an undergraduate degree for admission. Examples include MA, MSc, PhD, and professional degrees (MD, JD, etc.). There are also graduate scholarships, but they are beyond our scope here.

Types of Scholarship Awards

Understand the main categories of scholarship funding:

  • Entrance scholarships: Awarded based on academic merit when students first enroll at a university.
  • In-course scholarships: Granted to currently enrolled undergraduate students based on strong academic performance during their studies.
  • National scholarships: Prestigious awards administered by independent organizations to fund studies across Canada.

Now that we have a shared understanding of these definitions let’s dive into the top fully funded scholarship options!

Top Domestic Student Scholarships in Canada

Rhodes Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Value: Fully funds up to 4 years of study at the University of Oxford in the UK. Includes tuition, room & board, stipend, and travel expenses.
  • Number awarded: 10-12 annually across Canada
  • Application deadline: Early October

The Rhodes Scholarship is undisputedly among the most esteemed academic awards available to Canadians and permanent residents. It supports postgraduate studies at the historic University of Oxford. Candidates must demonstrate high academic achievement, leadership potential, integrity, and commitment to service. The application and selection process is extremely rigorous.

Loran Scholars Foundation

  • Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents entering 1st year of undergraduate studies
  • Value: Up to $100,000 over four years to cover full tuition plus living expenses at any Canadian university
  • Number awarded: 25-30 annually across Canada
  • Application deadline: November

The Loran Award is one of the largest and most generous national scholarships in Canada. It seeks motivated students who want to make a positive difference. In addition to academic excellence, candidates must show leadership talents through community service and extracurricular involvement. Scholars benefit from networking opportunities and annual conferences during their studies.

Schulich Leader Scholarships

  • Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents entering 1st year of studies in STEM
  • Value: Up to $100,000 over four years at select Canadian universities
  • Number awarded: 50 annually across Canada
  • Application deadline: November

This national scholarship supports top students looking to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Recipients must demonstrate academic achievement, leadership skills, and a commitment to community service. Schulich Leaders attend annual conferences to network with other scholars and industry leaders.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

  • Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents entering a graduate program
  • Value: Up to $50,000 per year for three years of doctoral studies
  • Number awarded: Approximately 125 per year across Canada
  • Application deadline: Institutions set their own deadlines between September-January

Offered by the federal government, Vanier Scholarships are highly competitive awards intended to attract and retain world-class doctoral students. Funding covers tuition, living expenses, and research costs. The selection process emphasizes both academic excellence and leadership qualities.

These four national scholarships are among the most prestigious awards available for undergraduate and graduate studies by domestic students in Canada. Landing one provides an exceptional educational opportunity fully paid for by the scholarship.

Top International Student Scholarships

Let’s now explore some of the top fully-funded international student scholarship options in Canada:

United World Colleges Scholarships

  • Eligibility: Interested in a pre-university program at a UWC college
  • Value: Covers full 2-year boarding school program costs
  • Number awarded: Varies by college location
  • Application deadline: Varies by location, often mid-September to January

The United World Colleges is a global education initiative with 14 schools around the world. Two UWC campuses are located in Canada. These highly selective scholarships support a diverse student body united by a desire to create positive change. Alumni often receive further funding like the Rhodes Scholarship.

Mitsui Scholarship

  • Eligibility: International students (non-Canadian citizens) entering undergraduate studies
  • Value: Up to $60,000 over four years
  • Number awarded: 5-8 annually across Canada
  • Application deadline: February

Offered by the Mitsui & Co. (Canada) Foundation, these scholarships provide generous support for international students whose ideals align with Mitsui’s values of global citizenship and mutual understanding. Academic merit, leadership potential, and promoting diversity are key factors.

Fleck Family Scholarship Program

  • Eligibility: International students entering STEM programs
  • Value: Covers full program costs at partner universities
  • Number awarded: 5-10 annually across Canada
  • Application deadline: Institutions set their own deadlines, often December-February

This scholarship fully funds international students planning to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Partner institutions provide mentoring and work placement opportunities. Selection emphasizes character in addition to grades and extracurricular activities.

Global Scholarships for Master’s at UBC

  • Eligibility: International students entering a master’s program at UBC
  • Value: $30,000 CAD per year, renewable for 1-2 years
  • Number awarded: 10-20 annually
  • Application deadline: UBC internal deadlines in December/January

The University of British Columbia offers a selective number of fully-funded international graduate awards. These prestigious scholarships aim to attract top talent from around the world to further research and innovation at UBC. Academic excellence and leadership qualities are key factors.

With funding covering living costs on top of tuition, these international scholarships help make a high-quality Canadian education affordable for students from other countries. They represent an invaluable opportunity for global learning and exchange.

Additional Scholarship Databases and Resources

Beyond these nationally-focused awards, numerous other fully-funded or major scholarship options exist at the undergraduate and graduate level:

University Scholarship Databases

Almost all Canadian universities maintain online databases of the scholarships they offer. These include internal awards for academic merit as well as some fully-funded named scholarships established through donor gifts:

Browsing the lists can uncover additional fully-funded domestic and international scholarships available at the institutional level. Deadlines often fall between December and March.

External Scholarship Search Engines

Tools like ScholarshipsCanada and FastWeb aggregate scholarship listings from different sources to help students identify funding matches based on their profile:

These search engines provide a starting point, but serious applicants will need to thoroughly research individual opportunities using official sources.

Making Your Application Stand Out

Landing a prestigious fully-funded scholarship is highly competitive. Statistically, acceptance rates are often under 5% for top awards. To maximize your chances, focus your application on demonstrating the following qualities:

Standout Academic Performance

Maintain an exceptionally high GPA, take challenging courses, and obtain subject prizes and academic honors if possible. Fully funded scholarships prioritize top students.

Leadership Experience

Get involved in student government, clubs, volunteering, community initiatives, or work. Take on positions of responsibility to develop leadership abilities.

Unique Achievements

Did you win any awards, compete at an elite level in athletics or academics, start your own business, conduct meaningful independent research, or undertake unique experiences like travels abroad? Pursuits that set you apart from other strong candidates can help.

Strong Recommendations

Ask recommenders who know you well, like professors, employers, or community leaders, to speak to your character and achievements. Well-written letters of reference carry weight.

Purposeful Personal Statement

Explain your motivation, goals, and fit for the program or opportunity. Highlight how you plan to contribute and give back if selected. Proofread thoroughly to eliminate errors.

Competition for these scholarships is intense, given their full-ride value. With strategic preparation of all application materials highlighting your talents, passions, and fit, you can maximize your odds of standing out from a pool of qualified candidates.


When should I start preparing my application?

The application process for major scholarships is lengthy and involves multiple drafts. Most experts recommend starting preparation 9-12 months in advance of deadline dates. This allows time to craft outstanding application materials, ask recommenders well ahead, and submit in top form.

Do I need to be in my final year of high school to apply?

Not necessarily. Many top scholarships consider candidates who have not yet started post-secondary studies. It’s best to check eligibility requirements, but your application can emphasize future academic/career plans in addition to past achievements.

What if I don’t have extensive leadership experience yet?

Scholarship committees understand applicants come from diverse backgrounds. If extracurricular involvement is lacking, emphasize strengths like academic excellence, character, passions, and future potential. Well-developed personal statements can still impress readers.

Will receiving a different scholarship hurt my chances?

Absolutely not. Prior awards you have obtained demonstrate your abilities and can only add to the strength of your profile. Highlight all-academic honors and achievements in your application.

What are my chances of winning?

Acceptance rates for national scholarships average under 5%, reflecting fiercely high standards. However, obtaining interview invitations or being named an alternate still showcases your talents. Rejection should not deter reapplying with continued improvements in future years. Maintain hope – strong candidates do receive these life-changing opportunities.

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