The student union opposes the university’s rumoured tuition hike affecting international students
The Concordia Student Union (CSU) revealed the Concordia administration has been planning—supposedly for three years—a perpetual tuition hike that will affect future international students.
A recent open letter posted on the CSU’s website last Friday said this tuition hike would be directed towards students in deregulated programs.
Most universities’ program fees are regulated by the provincial government, but since 2008, according to the open letter from the CSU, the government of Quebec has deregulated six programs of study for international students: business, engineering, computer science, pure sciences, mathematics and law. This means the university can charge international students in these programs any price they want.
The university will propose tuition increases through “cohort pricing,” which is a payment scheme that guarantees tuition fees for international students in deregulated programs won’t increase over the course of their degree, according to the open letter. This means that when an international student begins their program at Concordia, they will be paying the same fee for every year of study. However, their fee will be higher than a student who started in the same program the year before.
The university has yet to confirm how much higher the fees will be, which isn’t a good sign, according to Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, general coordinator for the CSU. “If the university is declining to provide some basic information about what they’re planning for cohort pricing, we are led to suspect that it’s going to be significant increases year by year,” she said.
The student union found out about the increase after Chris Mota, university spokesperson mentioned in an email, that the university has been exploring implementing cohort pricing for international students in deregulated programs for three years now. To follow up, the CSU has been directly asking the university about specifics of their plan, but the university has yet to answer their questions. “It’s unfortunate that we are running under assumptions since we are the accredited union for all students at Concordia,” said Marshall-Kiparissis.
Sepideh Zangeneh, an international student from Mexico studying business at the John Molson School of Business, said she can barely afford the current tuition at Concordia. She’s worried if the tuition increases drastically, she will have to drop out. “I love Concordia, but if I can’t stay here because I can’t afford it, I’ll have to change,” she said.
Zangeneh is not the only one worrying about these tuition hikes. Samuel Miriello, who studies Human Resources Management, is concerned about the possible tuition hikes, even though he’s not an international student. “The school environment will change for the worse if the tuition hikes occur,” he said. Miriello said if tuition rises for international students, only the elite of the international students will be represented at Concordia. “This prevents us, the students, from seeing the world from a clear, fair, equality-oriented lens,” he said.
As a response to the supposed tuition hikes, he created a Facebook group, “Concordia University Against International Tuition Hike,” alongside Zangeneh and CSU’s External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator, Aloyse Muller. The group’s goal is to bring students together who are against the tuition hike the university is imposing without the students’ consent. They are currently working on a petition and are also planning an awareness day once enough students are aware of the situation, Miriello said.
The CSU believes the proposal for the tuition hikes for international students in deregulated programs will be presented to the Board of Governors on Dec. 14. If it is approved, the proposal will be implemented as of the fall 2017 semester.