Volume 96, Issue 14
Friday, September 20, 2002

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Quebec tuition rates discriminatory

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

Although Quebec universities have been using tuition differential for 10 years, students are just now starting to take a stand.

According to the registrars office at McGill University, the cost of undergraduate tuition fees for the year is $1,668.30 for residents of Quebec, and $3,708.30 for students from other Canadian provinces.

The tuition fees for Quebec universities are set by the province's Ministry of Education, and the out-of-province charge is determined by taking an average tuition from all Canadian universities, said Joanne Méthot, media relations spokesperson for the ministry.

Méthot noted international students from francophone countries who intend to study specific courses, such as Quebec literature, can receive the same rate available to Quebec resident students.

Martin Doe, president of the Students' Society at McGill, said most students have recently come to feel that the differential fees are discriminatory.

"It raises the question of mobility and whether education should be provincial or of national importance," Doe said.

Initially, students were not concerned with the tuition difference, Doe explained. With the support of their student associations, Quebec students are beginning to take a stand against their province's Ministry of Education.

"We now have a chance to address it from a political standpoint," Doe said. "It's discriminatory against anglophile and out-of-province Canadians," he added.

"I don't think it's appropriate. I'm opposed to differential tuition altogether," said Bernard Shapiro, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill.

"The policy is to prefer everything that's francophone over everything that's anglophone, and it's not right," Shapiro affirmed.

The Ministry uses the differential fees to put Quebec universities on the same level as the rest of the country, Méthot said. With tuition fees so low for students from Quebec, higher fees will discourage outsiders from taking their spots, she added.

According to Liam Arbuckle, the National Director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, all Quebec universities have this form of differential tuition.

"The spirit of post secondary education is the freedom to enter any place to study," Arbuckle said, adding CASA is firmly against the differential tuition fees.

"It does bother me, it's the price I'm paying for living in Montreal and going to McGill," said Jen Lecorre, a second-year psychology student at the university.

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