By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
Members of the provincial Official Opposition (PLQ) and student representatives decried the planned tuition hike for university students at a press conference held at Bishop’s University (BU) Oct. 27. The hike will nearly double the fees out-of-province students will pay per year at Quebec universities, from around $9,000 to $17,000, starting in the fall of 2024. Over 40 media, students, staff and politicians attended, notably including Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, BU’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
Marc Tanguay, PLQ member and Leader of the Official Opposition, emphasized he was there to demonstrate his support for BU in their cause against the hike. The hike will have a negative effect on all Quebec universities, especially BU, he insisted. Doubling fees for out-of-province students will have a “devastating impact” on BU’s identity and finances. “The cause is just and justified.”
Catherine Bibeau-Lorraine, President of the Quebec Student Union, said the provincial government is raising tuition “for no good reason and no good pretext”, and demanded the hike be canceled.
BU Student Representative Council President Sophia Stacey disputed what she sees as the government’s view that out-of-province students contribute less to the “post-secondary landscape” than Quebec students. The government’s actions “[undermine] the autonomy of young people to determine their educational path”. What is ultimately at stake is students’ sense of belonging to Quebec, she insisted.