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'They're our universities': Quebec finance minister has message for English universities


Quebec's finance minister said discussions are continuing with the province's English universities about the proposed measure to almost double tuition rates for out-of-province students.

Tuition for out-of-province students will jump from $8,992 to $17,000 in fall 2024 due to the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) measure. Some of the province's English-language universities have said it will disproportionately affect them negatively and will make it harder to draw students.

Finance Minister Eric Girard had a message for Bishops, McGill, Concordia and other universities that have said the measure will be catastrophic.

"My message is that these universities are our universities, they're Quebec universities, they're very important to the economy, to the social fabric," he said in a news scrum. "They have concerns, and they've expressed them, and I understand that they're currently in discussion with minister [Pascale] Dery."

Parti Quebecois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said the measure will have a limited impact, though he agrees that Francophone universities should have better funding than English ones.

He does not think the measure will change the linguistic dynamics in the province.

"I think the measure doesn't really achieve the goal that has been stated by the CAQ," he said. "It might make a certain difference in the number of students who don't speak French, who study in Montreal, but I think the real issue is, in total, how many students a year are we hosting and in which language? Because it has, of course, an impact on the linguistic dynamics if you have tens of thousands of students who can't speak French around Concordia and McGill. The real conversation should be about how many students do we host a year and what is the impact for the finances for each university?"

Bishop's University principal Sebastien Lebel-Grenier said the around 30 per cent of students from across the country who go to his school will not be able to afford a doubling of their tuition.

"We will be unable to compete with other Canadian universities," he said.  

McGill University issued a similar statement. 

"There's no question these measures could affect the recruitment of prospective Canadian students from outside Quebec, as it will cost less to study elsewhere in Canada for many programs," media relations associate director Cynthia Lee said. Top Stories


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