Tuition Hikes Proposed for International Students at Concordia

Provincial Government Also Announces Wide-Scale Deregulation for International Students

  • The provincial government also announced deregulation across the board for all international students, with exception to PhD students and those taking thesis based masters programs. File Photo Brian Lapuz

Tuition hikes are being proposed for international undergraduates in Engineering and Computer Science and the John Molson School of Business.

Concordia will vote on the proposed hikes next week, at a Board of Governors meeting on May 23.

The push for hikes happens to come as the provincial government just announced a 1.5 billion increase in university funding for the next six years. For Concordia that translates into 12 per cent overall increase in funding.

But while good news has come out in terms of funding, the government also announced deregulation across the board for all international students, with exception to PhD students and those taking thesis based masters programs.

Once departments become deregulated, schools stop receiving funding for international students in those programs, meaning they have had to rely on their own means to fund those students.

If passed later this week, undergraduate international students in JMSB and Engineering and Computer Science will see a 3.28 per cent increase in their tuition fees starting in the fall of 2018.

For an international Engineering and Computer Science student taking a full course load of five classes per semester that equals a $663 increase for the year, with tuition standing at about $20,880 per year.

In an interview with The Link on Wednesday, Concordia President Alan Shepard declined to comment when asked if international tuition hikes would be coming up in the near future.

Quebec universities have been free to set their own tuition fees for international students in a number of departments since 2008, when the provincial government deregulated fees for international undergraduates in several departments, like engineering, computer science, business, and mathematics.

Shepard also announced at a senate meeting today that grants and other services for international students will be cut by the fall.

“They are removing and cancelling all grants from the government of Quebec for international students around teaching, support services, [and] to support space.”

“Philosophically, the way you would describe it, is that they’re having the international students bare the cost of their education in Quebec,” Shepard continued. “We can like it or not like it, but it’s government policy.”

Last time similar hikes were proposed in the winter of 2016 students protested outside the Board of Governors meeting where voting for the request happened. The protests were led by the Concordia Student Union, and the university later voted down the hikes.

“International students are already treated like the university’s cash cows,” wrote CSU General Coordinator elect Sophie Hough in a Facebook post. “International students are some of the most vulnerable students, too. Taking advantage of them like this is unacceptable.”

It’s not yet clear how exactly the CSU will be responding to the hikes this time around. Hough declined to comment, but noted the CSU has a hard stance on keeping education accessible to “oppose financial barriers to high-quality post-secondary education and the financial segregation of international students.”

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