Outcome of meeting with Premier Legault on tuition fees
Today, the presidents of Quebec’s three English-speaking universities met with Premier François Legault and Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry in downtown Montreal. At his invitation, we sat down to discuss the far-reaching consequences of the government’s recent announcement that it intends to significantly increase the tuition fees paid by out-of-province students and change the financing of international students who choose to study at our institutions.
During the meeting, Concordia, McGill and Bishop’s presented our own proposal for protecting and promoting the French language with universities acting as enthusiastic partners by delivering innovative French-language training initiatives. Some programs would be new while others would expand current offerings, but they would all align with our individual missions to provide world-class learning, training and research opportunities that prepare our unique student populations for careers in Quebec.
The primary elements of the proposal are as follows:
Include a compulsory French course for Canadian students who are not Quebec residents;
Offer more immersive internships in the regions;
Integrate more French language and cultural courses into academic programs, in collaboration with Francisation Québec;
Organize more cultural activities to promote French and Quebec culture on our campuses and in the community;
Develop programs with cultural and business organizations to ensure the integration of students into Quebec society during and after their studies.
In addition, we asked to maintain the current tuition levels - subject to indexation - for Canadian students who are not Quebec residents as well as to work with other Quebec universities to find an alternative to the government’s proposal concerning the financing for international students, so as to ensure that it is sustainable and equitable for the entire network.
Finally, each president shared an analysis of how the proposed tuition increases would have dire consequences for our budgets and, more importantly, how they would alter the very character of our institutions. I reiterated to Premier Legault what the consequences would be for Concordia, both financially and with respect to our identity as a university that values diversity, accessibility and inclusivity.
I would like to thank Premier Legault for taking the time to hear our concerns in person for the first time. He promised the government would study our plan and provide an official response shortly.
I want to thank our colleagues at Bishop’s and McGill for their solidarity and collaboration. But above all I want to thank every member of the Concordia community who has voiced their support for the university we all love and who believe deeply in our shared pride of place in Quebec.
I will continue to provide regular updates to faculty and staff as the situation evolves.
President and vice-chancellor