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After Quebec tuition hike, Concordia offering up to $4,000 to out-of-province students


Concordia University seems to be following in the footsteps of McGill by offering bursaries of up to $4,000 for new students from outside Quebec to offset the province's controversial tuition hike.

The university announced Friday it is launching the "Canada Scholars Award" for undergraduate applicants in all programs and will offer it for the duration of the degree as long as academic performance is maintained.

"The Canada Scholars Awards have been created to send a message across the country that Concordia is proud of the diversity of its student body and wants to ensure that its traditional welcome is maintained. The university is responding to concerns that recently imposed tuition fee increases would result in fewer students choosing to study in Quebec," the university said in a news release.

The award will be automatically applied to undergraduate students, and the amount offered will be based on their grades, ranging from B- to A+.

Earlier this week, McGill said it would offer a $3,000 award to new undergraduate students to offset the tuition increase.

This is in response to the government raising tuition fees for non-Quebec students attending English universities from about $9,000 to $12,000 beginning in the 2025-2026 academic year.

Quebec Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry lowered the tuition increase from the original $17,000 announced on Oct. 13.

The measure applies to McGill and Concordia universities in Montreal, with a partial exemption carved out for Bishop's University, located in the Eastern Townships.

After facing pushback from the universities and the community, the government modified its plan but added a new requirement: 80 per cent of students from the rest of Canada will have to obtain an intermediate level of French language proficiency by the time they graduate. 

The government could withhold the university's funding if that target is not met; this measure doesn't apply to Bishop's.

"We want to ensure that Concordia continues to be the chosen destination for both francophone and anglophone students from elsewhere in Canada. Our goal is to recruit students who want to be part of Concordia’s dynamic, welcoming and diverse environment but who are also keen to benefit from our unique emphasis on experiential and work-integrated learning in all our programs," Concordia president Graham Carr said in a news release.

Concordia is also announcing a new, one-time $2,000 award for undergraduates who transfer from universities in other provinces.

Other bursaries are being offered to graduate students from outside the province, including ones for master's students ranging between $3,000 and $9,000.

Quebec's three English universities have condemned the government for taking an approach they say will hurt them financially by devastating their enrollment numbers and will turn potential students to universities in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.

McGill president Deep Saini called Quebec's tuition policy a "targeted attack" on English post-secondary institutions. The university has already warned that it will hurt its bottom line by cutting an estimated $94 million in revenue.

Concordia said annual revenue loss could reach $32 million in four years.

Even though the new measure isn't in force yet, it's already having an effect on the university. Carr said in an interview with CTV News that since it was announced in October, they've seen a 20 per cent drop in applications compared to previous years.

"We're concerned that we've already lost some of our potential applicant pool," he said Friday, adding that he's hoping to get the word out that "we are repurposing funds in the university to create as many scholarships as we can to allow students to continue to come because we want to keep the presence of the rest of Canada inside Concordia. We want those students coming from Calgary and Vancouver and Fredericton and Toronto and Ottawa. They're a big part of who we are."

Carr couldn't say how much money it is budgeting for its new bursary program, but said it will depend on the demand. Concordia will be reaching out to its alumni and donors to support the award to make sure it's sustainable.

With files from CTV News Montreal's Stéphane Giroux Top Stories

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