Editorial: Concordia is going after International Students

Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

The news spread like wildfire on social media after the CSU shared a statement on a variety of Facebook groups and platforms. The statement detailed how the university’s administration has been looking to increase tuition costs for international students for the last three years. The CSU believes a proposal is expected to be approved by the board of governors on Dec. 14, meaning the increase would be implemented starting in the fall 2017 semester.

We were in shock here at The Concordian, as international students already pay way more than Quebec residents. Many of these students rack up a huge amount of debt whilst studying in our bustling metropolis, or are forced to look for some sort of employment to ease the financial burden. However, it can be especially difficult for non-francophone students to get jobs in Montreal.

Here at The Concordian, we think this proposed tuition hike is downright shady. It feels like Concordia is finding new ways to extort money from the student population, like capitalist vampires on a bloodthirsty hunt for fresh meat. According to the CSU’s website, international students currently make up approximately 17 per cent of Concordia’s students body, and they are the source of 25 per cent of the university’s tuition-based revenue—this was revealed during the university’s September 2016 budget meeting. At the meeting, it was also stated that “Concordia is looking to increase the ratio of international students in order to generate additional revenue from tuition,” according to the CSU.

The fact that this proposal has been in the works for the past three years is also quite troublesome, especially given the fact that it’s only being brought to our attention now. How many other secret projects are in the pipeline that’ll impact our student population? We would like to think that Concordia values its international students and what they bring to our university, but the current circumstance seems to suggest they value money more than good education.

As of yet, the university won’t allow CSU representatives to see the proposal, meaning we—the students—won’t be able to get the concrete details.

“[The proposal] has yet to be presented to the Finance Committee of the Board of Governors. That will only open happen late next month. We have to respect our governance process so the proposal won’t be shared with anyone until it goes through the required.” Said Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota.

We understand the protocol in this situation, but we believe the university should be more transparent and divulge the true details of this proposal, so the student body can be fully informed before anything is approved.

This isn’t the first time international students have been screwed over either. Rewind to 2012, when the media reported widely on the fact that many Chinese international students were being ripped off. CBC News reported that Concordia hired a third party recruiter to attract chinese students to the university, yet the recruiter overstepped his role and essentially took their money and set them up in housing accommodations. When the students arrived, many of them were crammed into tiny rooms and were not even fed properly, according to the same report. Many students lost a lot of money and were afraid to speak out because they weren’t aware of their rights and feared deportation.

The university’s main focus should be on providing an opportunity for students—both from Quebec and abroad—to get a decent education and acquire the skills and expertise they need to work in an international job market. How can Concordia build its reputation abroad if the administration is constantly trying to suckle every penny out of these poor students?

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