Saving big while paying for international tuition and student expenses

December 22, 2021

If you decide to attend university abroad, the world opens up for Canadian students. In addition to a vast selection of universities in exciting locations in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, there are also schools in the Caribbean and Europe that Canadian post-secondary students consider for their undergraduate degree or advanced graduate degrees such as business or Medical school.

Regardless of the final decision of where to attend (and that alone is a lot of work!), selecting a school is just the first step to attending. Paying for school tuition from a Canadian bank and school expenses requires some thought about how best to exchange funds regularly from Canadian dollars to a new currency, depending on the location abroad the student has selected.

Common questions when looking to transfer money abroad:

  • Can I transfer money directly from my bank account, or do I need a particular account to transfer and make tuition payments?
  • Can I wire or transfer money internationally quickly while getting a great exchange rate?

The answer is yes! when you do a little planning in advance and get some help from a partner for your currency exchange and foreign payments,

Choosing to work smart when financing international studies can save up to 2-3% in currency exchange, based on your relationship with your current provider, when you plan and consider the options.

VBCE helps many Canadian students navigate international school finances assisting them, and their families to quickly transfer funds, pay school tuition and manage foreign expenses at the best currency exchange rates, with no commission fees.

We set up students or their parents with the VBCE Online platform that bridges their Canadian bank to their selected school funding requirements and helps them decide the best path for payment depending on the school preference. Options include money transfers, wire transfers, inter-bank account transfers between CAD and USD accounts.

Quick fact:

Top 4 international school currency types we see at VBCE:

  • USD
  • GBP (UK)
  • Euro
  • Australian dollars
How much does it cost to attend a university abroad?

Having worked with Canadian students and their families for many years, we see that on average, currency exchange needs of up to USD 60,000 for annual tuition payments and living expenses of USD 20,000 per year for housing, living expenses and flights home, the cost per year for a student to attend school abroad could easily cost over USD 80,000 after per year.

The cost of attending a school outside of Canada can be expensive. Still, it can be even more costly depending on the strength of the Canadian dollar, which is why it is essential to get the most competitive exchange rate to save money where you can.

Save big, easily

On average, the savings to exchange CAD to USD over time with market fluctuations could save you an additional 2-3% at VBCE or up to CAD 2400 per year depending on your relationship with your current provider. Over the time of the four-year program, you could save a total of CAD 9600 by smartly managing your currency exchange.

Parents, students or guardians get the best rates and flexibility to conveniently transfer tuition payments directly to post-secondary schools abroad and transfer currency directly to students for living expenses.

Curious what schools are attended by Canadian students?

Below we share some of the top University programs our customers attend, by region and what funds they accept for payment:

Top US Schools - payments in USD

  • Brown University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Chicago
  • New York University
  • Seton Hall
  • University of California (10 campuses)
  • USC - University of Southern California
  • Colgate University

Each school operates differently, and we have successfully been able to set up payments and expense transfers for students across the globe from Ivey League universities in the US such as Yale and Brown Universities, to Medical schools from John Hopkins in the US to top International Medical schools in the Caribbean such as Saba University in the Netherland Caribbean and St. George's University in Grenada.

A top destination for medical school is a attending a program abroad.

Below are some of the top destinations we see our clients attend when considering a medical school in another country and who are required to pay for school in US dollars:

International Medical Programs - payment in USD

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Saba University School of Medicine in the Caribbean
  • St. George's University in Grenada
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Bahrain

If you are considering studying abroad in the UK or Ireland, we found that these schools were the top destinations for Canadian students and their payment currency is British Pounds or Euros as noted below:

Top UK Universities - payment in British Pounds

  • University of Oxford
  • University of LeicesterUniversity of Central Leicester
  • University of St. Andrews
  • Brunel University Medical School, London
  • University College London
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of the Arts, London

Top Universities in Ireland - payment in Euro

  • National University of Ireland, Galway
  • University of Limerick
  • University College Dublin

If you're looking for an experience far from home and on the other side of the world, perhaps you're looking at universities in Australia! Here are some of the top universities we see our clients choose in Australia:

Top Australian Universities - payment in Australian Dollars

  • James Cook University - North Queensland, Australia
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Queensland

While you may decide to attend a school abroad and far from your home country, having peace of mind that a trusted firm in Canada manages your currency exchange needs for your foreign tuition payment and student expenses lets you focus on your studies. Don’t get stressed out about how and when your international transfers will occur. In addition, with up to 2-3% savings in your currency exchange rate, you're off to a great start knowing you aren't overpaying for currency exchange at your bank.

VBCE Your Trusted FX Experts

If you are planning to attend university abroad, connect with our experts today. We can walk you through the options, share our knowledge of paying international school tuition and student expenses and see how we can help you succeed.

With over 30 years of experience, we handle over 4 billion dollars in transactions per year servicing customers across Canada. We are a trusted Canadian currency exchange firm and collectively save our customers millions of dollars per year.

Interested in learning more?

Speak to FX Trader Pandu Vitharana directly to ask questions or get help setting up your international school tuition and expenses today. Pandu can be reached directly at

See our Best Fit Check for International Students.

Meet Pandu Vitharana, FX Trader at VBCE