Senate: Quebec tuition rates for international students in French restored

By McGill Reporter Staff

International students in deregulated academic programs will once again be able to take French-language courses at the Quebec tuition rate starting in May. 

Deputy Provost Morton Mendelson made the announcement in Senate on April 27, in reply to a question from student Senator Joshua Abaki, who had first raised the issue in Senate last September.

Last summer, McGill began charging some international students higher fees for French courses.  That move stemmed from government deregulation of tuition rates in recent years for international students in certain academic disciplines.

Following the deregulation of tuition in those disciplines – which include management, law, science and engineering  – the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) withdrew support for those students who take French courses. For a time, McGill continued to provide subsidized tuition rates for all out-of-province and international students taking French classes, regardless of MELS support. But the University began charging international fees last summer to students in the deregulated programs, with the Scholarships and Student Aid Office prepared to provide financial assistance to students in need.

In announcing the decision to reinstate Quebec tuition rates for affected international students as of this month, Mendelson noted that doing so is consistent with McGill’s values as an institution in, and of, Quebec, and that McGill encourages its students to learn languages, especially French. 

At the same time, he cautioned that the change would create a shortfall of up to $500,000 in the budget for the coming year– requiring the University to find ways to make up for the loss.

Abaki welcomed the decision, which he said “will have a huge impact on international students.”  He and others had argued that the higher tuition would discourage international students from taking French courses, limiting their ability to integrate and engage with the Quebec community.