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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Concordia and McGill Challenge Quebec Government in Court Over Tuition Hikes for Out-of-Province Students

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Montreal’s Concordia University and McGill University are gearing up for legal battles against the Quebec government over steep tuition increases targeting out-of-province students. Concordia’s President Graham Carr expressed regret at resorting to legal action, highlighting that defending the institution’s integrity and core values is paramount.

Both universities report significant declines in applications, with Concordia seeing a 27 percent drop from the rest of Canada and a 12 percent decrease from international students. McGill previously announced a 20 percent decline in out-of-province applicants. Concordia’s court application seeks to annul the tuition hikes, alleging discriminatory intent and questioning the consultation process.

Meanwhile, McGill is seeking temporary suspension of the tuition increases while the case is being considered. Both universities argue that the government’s measures violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and were implemented without proper consultation.

The legal challenge follows the Quebec government’s announcement to nearly double tuition fees for out-of-province undergraduate and non-research graduate students, later reducing the fees but adding a French language requirement. Quebec officials defended the tuition hikes as necessary to ensure that non-Quebec students contribute to the preservation of French in the province.

Concordia’s Carr accuses the government of deliberately targeting English institutions and failing to fulfill its legal obligations to minimize harm. Both universities are adamant in their stance, emphasizing the potential threat the tuition hikes pose to their missions and Quebec’s reputation as a hub for higher education.

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