Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

The McGill University campus, in Montreal, on Oct. 13. The Quebec government is raising tuition rates for out-of-province and international students beginning in 2024.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Last week, Quebec announced it will implement a tuition hike for out-of-province anglophone students who want to study at the province’s English-language institutions.

Starting next year, fees for Canadians from other provinces will jump from just under $9,000 to around $17,000. The new fees would apply to undergraduate and professional graduate degrees, but not to research-based graduate degrees. The province also announced minimum tuition fees of $20,000 for international students, but universities will retain the right to charge additional discretionary fees.

The move is part of the government’s latest effort to protect the French language. Quebec Minister of Higher Education Pascale Déry and Quebec Minister of the French Language Jean-François Roberge have said the new measures would balance the disproportionate funding from international students going to English-language institutions.

The province’s three English-language universities – McGill University, Bishop’s University and Concordia University – have all criticized the plan.

McGill warns of consequences from Quebec’s plan to double out-of-province tuition for English students

After the news was published, Globe readers also shared their thoughts on the tuition hikes in our comment sections, based on their personal experiences and what they believe the new fees will mean for the future of Quebec’s English-language universities. Here’s what they had to say. (Spelling and grammar have been edited for ease of reading where applicable.)

The potential impact on Quebec and its English-speaking universities

From Globe commenter DJN1:

This will not only adversely affect out-of-province students at McGill and Concordia, but also the Montreal economy. The reduction of out-of-province students will leave many more vacant apartments, lead to café and restaurant closures and affect many retailers in Montreal's downtown core. Very short sighted. Then again, the principal aim is to hurt English institutions in Quebec. The economic effect on the economy is collateral damage.

From Globe commenter MontrealMan2:

At one time, Quebec was a favourable place to do business and go to university. If you want the economy to grow you need attract young people from other jurisdictions. It seems the CAQ government is always managing declines in their jurisdictions (health care, education, French language) - would it not be nice if they start managing successes and improvements?

From Globe commenter 1066 and all that:

Is it any surprise no one stays in Quebec given the attitude of the provincial government? McGill is a great university, but this is sure to hurt the school. It is a shame as English-speaking Canadians who would choose to go there learn much about Quebec and and get a sense of the distinctiveness of the province and unique vibe of Montreal. The irony is that, by jacking fees, Quebec is denying English Canadians an introduction to the culture they hold so dear. Most come away with fond memories and an appreciation for the province. That will no longer be the case and it is Quebec’s loss as much as it is Canada’s.

From Globe commenter David_Thomas:

When our son was accepted into McGill’s well-regarded business program, we hopped on a train from Toronto to check the campus out. The buildings looked nice from the outside, but inside they were tired and uninspiring. We left wondering if all Quebec universities were so tatty looking, or if it was just the anglophone ones. It certainly didn’t feel like the province was too invested in McGill’s prosperity. This announcement confirms it.

From Globe commenter app_74698238:

I'm a Quebec refugee, a product of the original French Immersion program in St. Lambert, and a graduate of Concordia now living in Ontario. I recall how poorly financed the English universities were in Quebec relative to the shiny new French ones. Moving on to the Ontario university system was a shock to me akin to a newly liberated Eastern European visiting Loblaws after years of lineups in empty stores behind the Iron Curtain. English universities and medical institutions rely on donor funding, but there doesn't seem to be that culture of giving back in the French universities and institutions. So here the government wants to rob Peter to pay Pierre to punish Peter for having success. How will this action affect the English university donor community and alumni when they realize they are merely funding Quebec xenophobia? In any case, I see this as a significant opportunity for Canadian provinces to benefit from the Quebec brain drain.

From Globe commenter 18can67:

I find the move small-minded and counterproductive. Exchanges of students between provinces is a good thing and should not be disincentivized. Universities should benefit from a wide variety of students who pay relatively accessible tuition fees.

The potential impact on English-speaking students and bilingualism

From Globe commenter sacha:

Our daughter - a BC anglophone who graduated high school in French immersion - attended Concordia University. While in Montreal she worked in a setting where she had to speak both official languages. More importantly, she met her future husband in Montreal. Our daughter now lives in France where she speaks French every day. Living, working, and studying in Montreal was a seminal experience for her. How sad to think that that opportunity will no longer be available to Canadians from outside Quebec; such a short-sighted and limiting approach.

From Globe commenter Industrial Research:

I understand their position, but I wonder if it is self-defeating. My son intended to go to McGill in 2025, largely because he wanted to improve his French language skills and better his understanding of Quebec history. He wants to leave open the option to enter federal politics later in life (30 years from now), so as a western Canadian he felt that he needed to better understand Quebec. Now he will likely select a university in Ontario or British Columbia.

From Globe commenter sr40:

My daughter goes to McGill now and yes we already pay more than her in-province fellow students but now that will be doubled. She had considered Dalhousie where tuition was marginally more for her compared to in-province students. The CAQ is right about students returning to their home provinces afterwards but that is one of the ramifications of Bill 96. The ROC should follow suit and charge extra to train Quebeckers as well. Don’t hold your breath of the Feds doing anything to help out either.

From Globe commenter GettingReal2:

My daughter just started at McGill. She was offered scholarships at both UofT and UBC, but as a French immersion student, she wanted to go to McGill to perfect her French by living in Montreal. McGill was already the most expensive option for us. Had this rule been in place last year, she wouldn't be there and Canada would miss the opportunity to add another fully bilingual citizen. I trust a constitutional challenge will be raised and the courts will do their job because this makes no sense whatsoever.

From Globe commenter S.Lamb:

Not very thoughtful. Many English students would experience the French language and culture. Doing this without consultation and all at once seems punitive and impolite to say the least. Does Quebec City also want to discourage English Canadian and American tourists? Because this looks like that to me.

The potential impact on international students

From Globe commenter RonsterG:

They'll just end up recruiting more international students. Americans love McGill and it's still considerably cheaper than many of their options. For them $20,000 CAD is still a great deal.

From Globe commenter incepitfidelis:

I was on an Air France flight, seated next to a lady from Normandy, who was visiting her son who was a McGill student. The conversation was in French. She was enthusiastic about having her son’s opportunity to study in English, and the fee structure was an incentive to study in Quebec as opposed to France. No doubt there are other students from France at McGill, who will face higher fees that might prevent them from finishing their degrees in Quebec.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe