Updated: Quebec Raises Tuition for Out-of-Province and International Students and Requires They Learn French

By Tess Campbell Modified on December 15, 2023
Tags : Community | Money | News

The Government of Quebec raises tuition fees to a minimum of $12,000 for out-of-province students and $20,000 for international students, and now requires they learn French.

 Updated: Quebec Raises Tuition for Out-of-Province and International Students and Requires They Learn French

Updated December 15, 2023: Since the Government of Quebec announced that Canadian out-of-province students’ tuition would nearly double, students and some Quebec universities made their outrage known through protests and statements.

Now, just a couple months after this news, the Government of Quebec has decided to reduce the tuition hike from $17,000 to $12,000. But there’s now a catch: 80% of out-of-province students at McGill University, Concordia University, and Bishop’s University will have to learn French and demonstrate a Level 5 oral proficiency by the end of their undergrad.

Similarly, tuition costs for international students will rise to roughly $20,000 CAD, as originally proposed in October, but now they’ll also be expected to learn French during their studies.

The French language requirement will go into effect for new students for the 2025-2026 academic year. But, the tuition increase to $12,000 will begin this fall for the 2024-2025 academic year. However, Bishop’s University will be allowed to offer tuition fees for 825 out-of-province students at the original rate — $8,992. Students at Bishop’s will still have to learn French and reach that Level 5 French proficiency mark.

So what does a Level 5 oral proficiency look like? Essentially, you’ll need to be able to hold a conversation in French. Deputy Provost Fabrice Labeau from McGill University says that this is “completely unrealistic from a technical and academic” standpoint. Without any background in French, students would need at least one extra semester of school to reach a Level 5 oral proficiency.

The original article is below.

On October 13, the Government of Quebec announced their plans to make changes to university tuition fees for out-of-province Canadians and international students. So, if you’re interested in studying in Quebec, here’s what you need to know about these new changes and what it could mean for you.

Why did Quebec increase tuition?

This new regulation comes from the Coalition Avenir Quebec government’s goal to prevent the decline of the use of the French language in the province. The Quebec French-Language Minister, Jean-François Roberge, states that 32,000 students from outside the province attend English universities and continue to speak English, which contributes to this decline.

Quebec’s Premier François Legault wants more equality for French universities since the English-speaking universities attract more out-of-province and international students, thus making more money from their tuition.

How much will tuition be?

The main question on everyone’s mind after this news is, “how much will tuition cost?” For all universities in Quebec, Canadian students who come from outside of Quebec will have their tuition fee raised from approximately $9,000 to $17,000 per year. International students’ tuition fees will rise to a minimum of $20,000 per year.

These new tuition fees will apply to undergraduate and non-research and professional master’s programs.

What does this mean for students?

This tuition hike will begin as early as fall 2024. So, if you’re entering your first year at a Quebec university in fall 2024, then you’ll be paying the increased tuition.

However, there are some exceptions to this new tuition hike:

  • Canadian students from outside Quebec and international students who have already started their studies in Quebec have five years to complete their program under the existing tuition structure
  • International students who come to Quebec as part of international agreements, like those from France or Belgium
  • Canadian students from outside Quebec enrolled in graduate programs

This new tuition hike has students upset. The Quebec Student Union which mostly represents French universities as well as Bishop’s University, is in the planning process for protesting this recent announcement.

So, if you want to study in Quebec before the tuition fees increase, explore the schools you’re interested in to see if the university offers any programs that begin in January 2024!

How will this affect Quebec’s English-speaking universities?

Quebec has three English-speaking universities: McGill University, Concordia University, and Bishop’s University.

For these universities, many of their students come from outside Quebec. 30% of McGill’s student body are international students and 20% are from outside of Quebec. At Bishop’s, almost 30% of their student body comes from outside Quebec and 15% are international students.

With these higher tuition fees, many students who may have been interested in studying in Quebec may now be reconsidering and looking for more affordable options. These English-speaking universities may also take a financial hit, since moving forward much of the tuition that out-of-province Canadians and international students will pay will be given to the government to be reallocated to francophone universities in Quebec. The university will receive government grants instead to partially support the cost of teaching.

This decision comes from the desire to keep the French language alive and thriving, but the English-speaking universities see themselves as a learning opportunity to promote French and Quebec culture. Many of their students may come from a background with little to no French in the hopes of developing their French language skills.

Bishop’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Sébastien Lebel-Grenier says, “we have a lot of success stories with students, especially international students, that came and had no French fluency at all — no knowledge of French — and learned French, integrated into Quebec society and now work in workplaces that are predominantly French workplaces."

This news follows just a day after Maclean’s released their 2024 university rankings, which saw McGill place in the top five for each program ranking and come in number one for medical doctoral schools! This new announcement could impact McGill’s funding, which could affect their rankings down the line.

Updated December 15, 2023: Here’s a quick recap of the new announcement. Out-of-province students will pay a minimum of $12,000 for tuition instead of the originally proposed $17,000, and international students will pay roughly $20,000 CAD for tuition as soon as fall 2024. Both out-of-province and international students will now be required to learn French and be able to hold a conversation in French by the end of their studies starting in the 2025-2026 academic year.

For more information, check out this CBC news article

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