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Out-of-province students will now have to pay $12K to study in Quebec


The Quebec government has officially revealed how much out-of-province students will have to pay if they want to study in the province.

It also announced that non-Quebec students will be required to learn French in order to graduate. 

In a letter sent to the rectors of Quebec's three English-language universities, McGill, Concordia and Bishop's, Quebec Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry confirmed that tuition fees for students from other Canadian provinces will go up 30 per cent from $9,000 to a minimum of $12,000 per year.

The original proposal was an increase to $17,000.

READ MORE: Amid tuition hikes, former students share why choosing Montreal was the best decision of their lives

McGill University calls the tuition hikes "devastating" and says it plans to call on Premier François Legault to reverse the decision.

"We have made thoughtful and realistic proposals to the government, but the government has turned these against us," said Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University. "I can only view this as a targeted attack on institutions that have been part of Quebec for hundreds of years."

He argues the decision to raise fees was not "evidence-based."

"It simply does not serve Quebec well," Saini said.

Saini points out the university has alums in over 185 countries.

"They are asking me, 'what is happening in Quebec?'" he said. "'Is the Quebec government closing its doors to the world? And I think it's important the Quebec government stands up and says, is it closing it's doors to the world?"

In fact, when asked if McGill would consider opening a campus in another Canadian province to skirt the Quebec government's requirements, Saini said the university was "not ruling out any options."

READ MORE: Explaining Quebec's new French requirement for out-of-province university students

According to the letter, Bishop's, located in Sherbrooke, Que., will still be allowed to accept a fixed number of out-of-province students at a rate of $9,000 "for a total of 825 fee exclusions."

"I want to express particular appreciation to the francophone leaders who have come out unequivocally in support of Bishop's," said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Sébastien Lebel-Grenier. "They were able to convince the Quebec government that we and the students we welcome to campus from the rest of Canada are not a threat to the French language but rather an essential part of what makes our region unique."

International students will now have to pay a base rate of $20,000, with the government collecting $3,000 in fees.

Lebel-Grenier points out that this change will not directly affect the amount of fees paid by students "as their current tuition is already above this amount."

Nevertheless, he says the "significant amount being clawed back for redistribution to French-language universities" could translate into a loss of revenue of $1.8 million for the university.

The funds raised by the measures will be used to increase funding for French-language universities.


The Quebec government is also demanding that English-language universities commit to developing the French-language skills of all their students.

"You have acknowledged the decline of French in Quebec, particularly in Montreal," said Déry in the letter, adding, "there is an urgent need to act when it comes to the francization of Canadian and international students."

Quebec says it wants the institutions to ensure that, from 2025-2026, "80 per cent of new non-Quebec students enrolled in an English-language program reach level five on the Quebec scale of French-language proficiency by the end of their undergraduate degree program."

She adds the universities could face financial penalties if they do not reach this goal.

However, funding for Bishop's University "will not be conditional on achieving this target." 

In a letter sent to McGill students Thursday afternoon, Saini said the extent of the French requirements are unreasonable.

"The government's expectation that 80 per cent of undergraduate students from outside Quebec attain an intermediate level of French is utterly unrealistic," he wrote.

"Many students are attracted by Quebec's unique and rich culture and strive to learn French so that they can build their lives here after graduation. But a student with no knowledge of French would need a full semester of courses, on average, to reach an intermediate level. Forced to take an extra semester to complete their degree, most will simply go elsewhere."

Saini said the new measures will "tarnish" Quebec's reputation around the world, and promised to continue pushing against them.

"And with the very core of our identity under threat, I give you my word that we will fight these destructive measures with all that we have. The extraordinary nature of this threat necessitates an equally extraordinary response." Top Stories

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