Students from neighboring Minnesota get to pay Canadians' tuition rate at Brandon under a special agreement, cutting the tuition bill in half. And any international student who maintains at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average gets up to 3,000 Canadian dollars knocked off the bill for the following year.
A favorable exchange rate gives American students an additional boost. The Canadian dollar is worth about 95 cents, after falling as low as 79 cents in March.
That edge can't be counted on when tallying up the total cost of an education. The "loonie" has fluctuated between 77 cents and $1.10 the past five years. But the exchange rate's unpredictability shouldn't undermine the appeal.
"Where Canadian schools make a difference financially for Americans is with middle-income families," says David Zutautas, a recruiting director for the University of Toronto. "Wealthy families can afford any U.S. or Canadian school, and low-income ones can take advantage of Pell grants in the U.S."
Canadian universities generally are considered to be on a par with their American counterparts.
McGill University in Montreal, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, among others, rank high on lists of the world's best universities. That makes them a great option for high-aiming U.S. students who either can't afford or can't get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford.
Canadian schools' degrees carry weight with U.S. graduate schools and with U.S. corporations, according to the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2010.