MONTREAL -- Three CEGEPs in Montreal responded with concern to Quebec's new language law suggesting that it will cause students to flee the province to pursue higher education.

In a joint statement from Dawson, John Abbott and Vanier Colleges, the institutions are asking for clarification and analysis of the law in particular looking at the application of the French exit exam for students and how enrolment caps will work.

Bill 96, An Act Respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Quebec, proposes to freeze the number of students admitted to CEGEPS, including the three that signed the statement.

"It is important to underline that the decision to cap enrolment exclusively for English-language CEGEPs at present levels will not address the ongoing desire among many young Quebecers to attend our institutions," the statement reads.

"Many Quebec parents want their children to become bilingual in a French Quebec. Limiting our ability to serve these students in the public sector will push more students to study out-of-province."

The statement is signed by general directors Diane Gauvin (Dawson), John Halpin (John Abbott) and John McMahon (Vanier).

The directors said they welcome Quebec's initiative to protect and promote French, but they add that they "believe in the principle of freedom of choice, which provides young adults with the opportunity to shape their own future, as well as admissions based primarily on academic qualifications."