Concordia University refunded all students upon receiving official directives from the provincial government concerning the tuition fee rollback while McGill University’s international and out-of-province students are still waiting on adjustments to their accounts.
The letter sent out to Quebec universities earlier this month confirmed the cancellation of the proposed tuition fees increase. The document also cites that the Parti Québécois is considering raising tuition fees for out-of-province and international students. McGill chose not to reimburse its foreign students in anticipation of an increase.
“We all got the same instructions,” said Chris Mota, Concordia University spokesperson. “We responded in one fashion and McGill chose a different route.”
This was also confirmed by Chief Financial Officer Patrick Kelley, who told The Concordian that the administration at McGill did not interpret the official directives from the the provincial government differently than Concordia but decided differently.
Simon-Pierre Lauzon, VP external of the Concordia Student Union, said he didn’t agree with the direction that McGill chose to take.
“McGill is kind of going in another direction and not doing what I think they’re supposed to be doing right now,” said Lauzon. “I find it very unfortunate that McGill students find themselves in this situation, it’s very unfair and I hope that it gets resolved quickly.”
Joël Bouchard, the press attaché for Pierre Duchesne, the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, confirmed that no decision has yet been made about increasing tuition fees and that the proposition is being studied.
“If we are then told at a later date that we have to increase tuition for out of province and international students, we will do so,” said Mota.
McGill University spokesperson Carole Graveline explained that the university has not refunded the increase initially tabled by the Charest Liberals because of a potential increase for out-of-province and international students on the way. Although there’s no indication of precisely when the increase will be announced, if there will be one, and just how much it will amount to, it remains “very likely” according to Graveline.
VP external Robin Reid-Fraser of the Students’ Society of McGill University said the process and wait has been disheartening.
“People are frustrated and confused,” said Reid-Fraser. “The contact we have with the administration is that they’re waiting on the government to put out their budget and really finalize what the plan is with the international and out-of-province fees.”
The Parti Québécois minority government will present a budget on Nov. 20.
“I presume there will be something in the budget but there’s no knowing,” said Graveline. “We’re not waiting on the budget, all we’re doing is taking a different path.”