Year after year, international students from all over the world will head to Canada to spend the next few years of their lives studying at one of Canada's 98 universities. Known for affordable tuition and high quality education, Canadian universities and colleges have attracted a growing number of international students - especially from India and China - over the last decade to their doors. And in 2009, they created the Student Partners Program to help facilitate new students into their schools. Here's what you need to know.

SPP colleges in Canada are a group of colleges and universities that are included in a partnership to help foster an increase in international students interested in studying abroad. In fact, over 300,000 students from all over the world make Canada their temporary home while they work on their Bachelors and Masters degrees, with around 12% of them hailing from India. As a response to this increased interest in international students looking to study in Canada, the country has set up a program called the "Student Partners Program" or the "SPP".

The SPP is a partnership between the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (the ACCC) and the Citizenship and Immigration Canada's visa office, and was designed to increase the number of study permits being approved for international students. One of the more beneficial byproducts of this program, however, was that it made the student visa application process a lot easier and a lot quicker (5-10 days, to be exact).

The SPP is an incredibly helpful program for students in India, and the benefits don't just include a speedy visa process. Once students are approved for this program, they're not required to provide as much visa documentation as they'd need otherwise (such as proof of acceptance to school; proof of identity; proof of financial support; and a letter of explanation, detailing why you're applying for a student visa). It also makes it much easier for students to apply for a work permit to stay in the country once they've graduated from a partner SPP school with a recognised qualification.

How do I Qualify for SPP Colleges in Canada?

There's no application to fill out for the SPP; instead, students apply directly to one of the participating colleges and are considered for the program if they meet certain requirements. Those requirements include:

  • IELTS score of at least 6 (this test measures English language aptitude and the test score cannot be more than two years old at the time of application).
  • Gap years aren't suggested, but if students have taken them, they can't have been longer than 5 years.
  • Proof of ability to pay tuition for either one semester or one year (this is determined by individual schools) through an approved Indian bank or financial institution.
  • Purchase of a GIC (or Guaranteed Investment Certificate) from Scotia Bank in the amount of $10,000 CAD to cover one year of living expenses.
  • No more than 8 backlogs in recent studies (a backlog is a failed attempt at a subject).
  • A course of study that's relevant and adds value to the student's previous course of study.
  • At least a 50% score on any recently completed degree or diploma (this requirement may be different for different schools).

How to Find SPP Colleges in Canada

Finding SPP colleges in Canada that qualify for the program is simple, as there are currently only 39 colleges and universities that are partner schools. The schools are located all across the country, from Vancouver on Canada's west coast to Toronto, near the eastern shore. Universities and colleges get evaluated every so often, so it's important to check Canada's Immigration and Citizenship website regularly to check for new schools that have joined up with the SPP for the upcoming year.

The list of SPP colleges in Canada includes the following:

Studying in Canada can provide numerous benefits for international students, from providing a unique cultural experience to offering quality university programs in nearly every discipline of study. Get more information on the program on Canada's SPP website for students or find more great universities in Canada on SchoolApply.

Daniel Bjärne is CEO and Co-Founder of SchoolApply.