Concordia May Propose International Tuition Hikes Again

University “Rethinking” Plans Since Failure to Implement Increases in Tuition Last Year

Government grants to fund for international students in deregulated programs are lacking, meaning tuition hikes are still being considered. File Photo Brian Lapuz

Tuition hikes for international students in deregulated undergraduate programs will “come back,” said Concordia President Alan Shepard.

Concordia failed to implement a cohort pricing system for international students in deregulated undergraduate programs during December of 2016. Cohort pricing would have been a new pay system that stabilized tuition fees for international students for the duration of their degree. It would also have varied from program to program.

“Since then, we’ve been rethinking what we’re going to do with international tuition,” Shepard said in a recent interview with The Link. “[It] doesn’t go away as an issue for the institution, and if you look at the data, [in relation to other universities] we are at the very bottom of what we charge international students.”

At McGill University, a bachelor’s degree in commerce would cost $42,026 in a deregulated undergraduate program, assuming the student is taking 30 full-time credits per year, whereas at Concordia students in the same situation would only pay $24,057, according to 2016 rates.

“It’s a big public policy debate, everything from free education [to] raise it really high, I’m not in the ‘really raise it high’ school at all, but we need a fair rate,” Shepard added.

In 2008, the Quebec government deregulated engineering, computer science, business, mathematics, and administration for international students at the undergraduate level. Once departments at this level become deregulated, the provincial government stopped giving schools funding for international students in those programs, and meaning the school must rely on its own means to fund them.

“In deregulated programs, that government grant evaporates to zero so the only money we rely on to provide a quality education for those students is the tuition they pay,” Shepard said.

When proposed in 2016, the Concordia Student Union brought up complaints over the lack of transparency of the discussion on proposed cohort pricing. Both the CSU and students at large mobilized campaigns against the hikes, protesting outside the Board of Governors meeting in which voting for the request occurred.

“The CSU has positions against the hikes. The university was not transparent about [how they would change] last time,” said former CSU External and Mobilizations Coordinator Aloyse Muller. “It would be nice to at least see what they plan this time.”

Shepard said that the university isn’t ready to bring up tuition hikes just yet, but if it occurred, he added that the school would make adjustments to make sure that potential hikes are properly explained to students.