March 23, 2010
International tuition increase catches students by surprise
Students not warned of 50 per cent hike before fall term
When Michael Wang visited Canada as an exchange student in September 2008, he knew he had to come back permanently.
Wang, originally from China, studied at the University of Prince Edward Island and applied for an undergraduate major in accounting at Concordia, which UPEI didn’t offer. He considered Carleton University but did not apply because international tuition at both universities cost $17,000 as of last June.
With little to no notice, Wang must now pay an extra $3,000 in tuition fees as a John Molson School of Business student.
“I don’t want to chastise the university, I just want to speak out on this situation,” Wang said. “I think almost $20,000 is a little too high.”
In their May 2009 meeting, Concordia’s Board of Governors approved an increase to international tuition fees for undergraduate engineering and computer science students as well as all JMSB students. The Board pointed out that the international fees had not increased since 2002 and that the Ministry of Education had partially deregulated international fees in 2008.
The resolution stated, “all reasonable efforts be taken to make this information known to the affected students as soon as possible.”
Nadia Hausfather, a humanities PhD student at Concordia and advocate for accessible education, said Concordia did not follow through on its promise to notify 2009-10 incoming students of the fee hikes.
“All of the students I spoke to did not know their tuition would increase,” said Hausfather, a member of Free Education Montreal. Hausfather said the group is considering launching a petition so that “Concordia’s Board of Governors [can] refund international students who were not warned of the increase.”
Furthermore, she said, some of the fee hikes are ludicrous; tuition for the master’s in business administration increased from $14,000 to $20,000—an increase of nearly 50 per cent.
Free Education Montreal, in conjunction with the Graduate Students’ Association, will host a public debate on March 30 where Concordia President Judith Woodsworth and Montreal Chamber of Commerce President Michel Leblanc will square off with students from the Concordia community about accessible education in Quebec.
“We want this debate to be an open platform for different dialogues to circulate,” Hausfather said, “which is why the debate will be open to society at large.”