International students squeezed for more fees

A motion to hike international students’ tuition fees by ten percent had the CSU scrambling to come up with good, hard arguments against it in time for the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting Tuesday morning.
“Because it’s such short notice – which is actually a good strategy on [the Board’s] behalf- we went into a kind of an emergency mode,” said CSU President Angelica Novoa on Monday.
Novoa and the rest of the executive heard about the motion late in the week when the agenda for the Sept. 18 meeting was sent out on the Board’s listserv. Although she and three other students sit on the Board to represent student interests, she said they were not informed of it.
“[Our] goal is obviously to not let this [motion] pass. We’re going to be as aggressive as possible,” said Novoa. “A ten percent increase is unacceptable.”
Based on the calls the CSU has made so far, they are expecting about 50 people to show up at the GM building on 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to protest the motion prior to the meeting.
Already, Concordia’s international students pay the eighth-highest rate of tuition in the country out of 54 universities.
A full-time student pays almost $15,000 for tuition, ancillary fees and a health plan– about five times as much as Quebec residents. If the motion passes, they would be paying another $1,300 dollars.
Novoa said the university is going after international students because they are willing to pay a high price to study at Concordia.
“International students are the cash cows of the education system. We end up subsidizing everybody else’s education,” said Novoa, who is from Columbia and also pays international rates.
Yonatan Weic is a fourth-year business student from Israel. Because he’s taking some French courses he pays half his tuition at the international rate and half at Quebec resident rates. He said he wouldn’t be able to afford coming to Concordia if he had to pay for all his courses at the international rate.
And if half his fees were to be raised by ten percent? Weic said it would be “just madness.”
“I think it’s just a way of Concordia to solve its financial problems,” said Weic. “International students already pay five times higher and they’re just taking advantage of that.”
He thinks the administration is capitalizing on the eagerness of international students to enroll in studies in North America, “so [the administration] takes that enthusiasm, with the money from parents and misuse it, instead of solving [their problems] themselves and paying for their own buildings,” said Weic.
The motion was put on the agenda by James Cherry, President and CEO of Aeroports de Montreal.


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