Applications to English CEGEPS will be more complicated this coming year because of Bill 96.

Students in the English system applying to an English-language CEGEP will have to prove they are eligible, even if they've just graduated from an English high school.

At the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) there's an entire office dedicated to Bill 101 and now Bill 96 is adding more work for board staff and stress for parents like Nur Erdem.

Her son is about to graduate from a French high school. His first choice for CEGEP is Marianopolis College. His second, John Abbott.

"I asked him if he can have a third choice [that is] a French school, but he said 'no mom, I don't want that," said Erdem.

Bill 96 puts a cap on the number of students accepted at English CEGEPs, but it gives preference to those who are already in the English system.

Erdem's son is worried because of that, he might not get in.

"He might tell me, 'Why don't we go to Ontario or something?' I don't know. We'll see."

Now, students who are eligible for English education have to prove it with a form, even if they have a high school diploma from an English school.

"Now, we're pretty much getting swamped with this new situation where parents don't have their original certificate of original eligibility. They either discarded them or can't find them, so they're frantically trying to get a copy," said Mike Cohen, a spokesperson for the EMSB.

While the deadline to apply to CEGEP is March 1, 2023, the form only needs to be sent to the school by June 30. This means new headaches for CEGEPs trying to figure out who has a spot and who doesn't.

"We're processing admission and issuing decisions way before that, so that remains a bit of a mystery in terms of what we're going to do if parents or students come up with their certificate last minute," said Christian Corno, director general of Marianopolis College.

"We'll do our best."

English CEGEPs don't have information from the government on how many students they will be allowed to admit next year, which means planning, staffing, and resource allocation are at a standstill.

The CEGEPs have asked the government to delay these new measures to no avail.

"We have to start that work in January and we have to complete that work in a few months. The timeframes and timelines they are giving us, in our view, are not realistic," said John McMahon, head of Vanier College.

Corno said the situation is "creating anxiety" for everyone in the college community.

The CEGEPs say they are trying to comply with the law, while parents and students now have a new form to fill out during what, for many, is an already stressful process.