Given that their parents are such zealous travellers, the reticence of Canadian post-secondary school students to study abroad even for short periods or exchanges is somewhat mystifying.
As we see in the story linked above, concerns about transferability of credits and the prospect of “a lot of hard work” tend to keep most Canadian students homebound—unexposed to foreign cultures, mores, climates, and temptations.
And then there are the costs.
But one of the lesser-known channels to foreign studies—perhaps even for short-term trial periods—may lie in the discounted tuition programs offered by US colleges and universities (some established by state legislation) specifically for Canadian students.
How about the Sunshine State?
For example, in 1987, the Florida legislature set up a Florida-Canada linkage program offering Canadian students admissions to some 40 state-funded colleges and universities at the same subsidized tuition levels offered to state residents—all in the interests of developing stronger bilateral relations between Florida and Canada. Given that Canadians make some 4 million leisure trips to Florida each year and are the state’s top international buyers of real estate, the linkage already seems secure.
The reduced tuition is quite comparable to what Canadian parents would be paying for their sons and daughters at home—given the rising tuition levels across Canada.
The admissions are offered on a yearly basis, but can be renewed each year, and they are available to students with modest B average grades—for associate, bachelors, and post-graduate levels.
But Florida is not alone in seeking out Canadian students.
Nearby border states
Minnesota also offers tuition reciprocity to students from Manitoba at its 41 state-funded colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota. The only requirement, besides an academic record, is that the applicant be a bona fide resident of Manitoba.
Similar programs are offered by North Dakota for students residing in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In fact, Minot State University claims to be the third most popular US destination for Canadian college students.
There is also the University of Maine, geographical neighbour to Quebec, with a special Canadian studies program and tuition discounts for Canadians.
And not to be forgotten is Wayne State University in Detroit, which offers a tuition discount to Canadian students and is known as having the largest population of Canadian students in the US.
An excellent source for more information about US colleges offering tuition reciprocity or discounts is available on the Study and Go Abroad website.
No problem with visas
For Canadian residents seeking admission to US colleges or universities, the visa requirements are pretty simple and straightforward—go to the US government’s website to learn more.
Health insurance must meet US college requirements
Also, any Canadian studying in the US will very likely have to meet the college’s health insurance requirements, and provincial health insurance won’t do. American universities are well aware of the limited payments offered by provincial plans. They will require either enrollment in their college or university health plan—if they offer one—or an alternate plan that offers at least comparable, comprehensive benefits.
Regular Canadian travel medical plans won’t do as they offer only short-term or emergency coverage, but full-service health plans specifically designed for Canadians studying abroad, or expatriates, are available from Canadian insurance companies on this site, and these products meet the requirements for most US universities.
Planning for an extended stay abroad? Browse your expatriate insurance options.