McGill, Concordia students give government's tuition plan a failing grade

McGill, Concordia students give government's tuition plan a failing grade

McGill, Concordia students give government's tuition plan a failing grade

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Students from McGill and Concordia universities voiced no enthusiasm Thursday for the Quebec government’s plan to hike tuition for out-of-province students.

Sofia Zahariadis came from St. John’s, N.L., to study pharmacology at McGill and she said she’s not sure she would have come if the new tuition rates had been in place.

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“I don’t know if I would have come here. It’s a big price increase,”  Zahariadis said. “That’s a lot over four years. One year I could deal with it. But four years? That’s a lot. Part of the big draw for me, and it’s pretty funny, is that I wanted to be in a French city to use my French. I did French immersion growing up. That was part of the draw. That I could use my French in practice and not just in a school setting.”

She said she believes there are better ways to promote the French language than doing this.

Hannah Grover, a PhD student at Concordia in sociology and anthropology, is from Saskatchewan, and she noted that the government is not raising fees for graduate students who are doing a thesis as part of their degree. So she’s not personally affected by it.

“I think (the tuition hike) is really unfortunate because Concordia especially really thrives on out-of-province and international students,” Grover said. “It’s going to make Quebec a less appealing place to come. Montreal has such a rich history with academics and culture and being an international hub for people. So it’s really going to harm that reputation. People can’t afford $12,000 a year. People couldn’t afford what it was to begin with. So making it even higher is ludicrous.”

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Yasmin Messaoudi, a Concordia psychology student, is fluently bilingual, having gone to school in French here, and she doesn’t see how this measure will help the French language.

“I think it’s great that there are people coming from out of province,” Messaoudi said. “I think it brings diversity, meeting people from outside. Increasing tuition just to keep them in their own province is just a bit extreme in my opinion. I go to an English (university), but I still hear so much French. I studied in French all my life, and I made the choice to study in English. I think it’s important to have both languages. It only increases your knowledge and diversity.”

Chloe Levasseur, who is studying pharmacology at McGill, is francophone and she feels this measure is extreme.

“I think that the fact that this is an English-speaking school in a mostly French area brings a lot of talent, a lot of international talent,” Levasseur said. “I don’t know if this is the best way to attack the problem (of the decline in French). I know that there are cultural ramifications to a language being reduced, but in a place of education I think it’s great to have as much diversity as possible — and this is reducing that.”

Hayden Rowe, a student in applied human science at Concordia, is also opposed to raising tuition.

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“I don’t see how shutting down any kind of language helps (another) language,” Rowe said.

Aziz Zayed, who is studying software engineering at McGill, did all his schooling in French because he was born in the U.S. and so wasn’t eligible to go to school in English here.

“I understand they want to preserve French, it makes sense, but … it won’t be (good) because people won’t come here anymore because it will be 33 per cent more expensive,” Zayed said. “There might be other ways to go about preserving the French language.”

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