In a decision with significant implications for post-secondary education in Quebec, the provincial government has announced that, as of the fall of 2024, students from outside Quebec who come to study at universities in the province will face a considerable increase in tuition fees, effectively doubling the existing rates. The move has triggered a backlash from the leaders of English-language universities and is causing some prospective students to reconsider their plans to move to Quebec.
Ending Subsidies for Out-of-Province Students: The Quebec government revealed its decision, characterizing it as a measure to cease subsidizing students from the rest of Canada who choose to pursue higher education at Quebec’s English-language universities. Currently, the minimum cost for out-of-province students to study in Quebec is $8,992. With this change, the tuition fees for these students are set to rise to approximately $17,000, as disclosed by Pascale Déry, the province’s minister of higher education.
Funding Quebec’s French-Language Universities: A noteworthy aspect of this increase in tuition fees is that all the additional revenue generated, essentially comprising half of the new tuition fees, will flow directly to the Quebec government. It is estimated that this additional revenue will amount to approximately $110 million annually. A significant portion of these funds will be allocated to support Quebec’s French-language universities.
Impact on International Students: International students, too, will face an increase in tuition fees, which will escalate to a minimum rate of around $20,000, according to Minister Déry. However, there are some exceptions to the new fee structure, including:
1. Out-of-province and international students who have already commenced their studies in Quebec.
2. Students who come to Quebec as part of international agreements, such as those from France or Belgium.
3. Out-of-province students enrolled in graduate programs.
Preserving and Promoting the French Language: Jean-François Roberge, the minister of the French language, emphasized the importance of these measures, stating that they would enable the recovery of funds intended to preserve, promote, and enhance the French language within the university system. He pointed out that this financial support for French-language universities would extend to safeguarding the French language, particularly in the Montreal area.
Roberge explained, “When tens of thousands of people arrive on the island of Montreal without a mastery of French, it’s obvious it can have an anglicizing effect on the metropolis.” The government’s decision is framed as a step toward maintaining and strengthening the presence of the French language in Quebec’s educational landscape.