Quebec Raises Tuition for Out-of-Province and International Students

On October 13, the Government of Quebec announced their plans to make changes to university tuition fees for out-of-province Canadians and international students. So, if you’re interested in studying in Quebec, here’s what you need to know about these new changes and what it could mean for you.

Why did Quebec increase tuition?

This new regulation comes from the Coalition Avenir Quebec government’s goal to prevent the decline of the use of the French language in the province. The Quebec French-Language Minister, Jean-François Roberge, states that 32,000 students from outside the province attend English universities and continue to speak English, which contributes to this decline.

Quebec’s Premier François Legault wants more equality for French universities since the English-speaking universities attract more out-of-province and international students, thus making more money from their tuition.

How much will tuition be?

The main question on everyone’s mind after this news is, “how much will tuition cost?” For all universities in Quebec, Canadian students who come from outside of Quebec will have their tuition fee raised from approximately $9,000 to $17,000 per year. International students’ tuition fees will rise to a minimum of $20,000 per year.

These new tuition fees will apply to undergraduate and non-research and professional master’s programs.

What does this mean for students?

This tuition hike will begin as early as fall 2024. So, if you’re entering your first year at a Quebec university in fall 2024, then you’ll be paying the increased tuition.

However, there are some exceptions to this new tuition hike:

  • Canadian students from outside Quebec and international students who have already started their studies in Quebec have five years to complete their program under the existing tuition structure
  • International students who come to Quebec as part of international agreements, like those from France or Belgium
  • Canadian students from outside Quebec enrolled in graduate programs

This new tuition hike has students upset. The Quebec Student Union which mostly represents French universities as well as Bishop’s University, is in the planning process for protesting this recent announcement.

So, if you want to study in Quebec before the tuition fees increase, explore the schools you’re interested in to see if the university offers any programs that begin in January 2024!

How will this affect Quebec’s English-speaking universities?

Quebec has three English-speaking universities: McGill University, Concordia University, and Bishop’s University.

For these universities, many of their students come from outside Quebec. 30% of McGill’s student body are international students and 20% are from outside of Quebec. At Bishop’s, almost 30% of their student body comes from outside Quebec and 15% are international students.

With these higher tuition fees, many students who may have been interested in studying in Quebec may now be reconsidering and looking for more affordable options. These English-speaking universities may also take a financial hit, since moving forward much of the tuition that out-of-province Canadians and international students will pay will be given to the government to be reallocated to francophone universities in Quebec. The university will receive government grants instead to partially support the cost of teaching.

This decision comes from the desire to keep the French language alive and thriving, but the English-speaking universities see themselves as a learning opportunity to promote French and Quebec culture. Many of their students may come from a background with little to no French in the hopes of developing their French language skills.

Bishop’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Sébastien Lebel-Grenier says, “we have a lot of success stories with students, especially international students, that came and had no French fluency at all — no knowledge of French — and learned French, integrated into Quebec society and now work in workplaces that are predominantly French workplaces."

This news follows just a day after Maclean’s released their 2024 university rankings, which saw McGill place in the top five for each program ranking and come in number one for medical doctoral schools! This new announcement could impact McGill’s funding, which could affect their rankings down the line.

For more information, check out the Government of Quebec’s press release