Update from SSMU on the Tuition Hikes

Update from SSMU on the Tuition Hikes

Update regarding the ongoing discussions and projects surrounding tuition hikes. The SSMU has actively represented your interests.

Recap of the latest events

October 2023

The CAQ government announced that tuition for out-of-province students was set to increase from $9,000 to $17,000 per year for students beginning their studies in Fall 2024. The original proposal also included the establishment of a minimum 20,000$ annual tuition for international students. The revenue from these increased fees will be reinvested in the French-language university system

November 2023

SSMU, the Concordia Student Union, and the Bishop’s University Student Representative Council collaborated with MP Marwah Rizqy to submit a formal petition to the National Assembly. In a month, the petition amassed over 33,000 signatures. Despite this immense public support, only a measly response was received from the Minister. We are deeply disappointed that there has been nearly no action from the Minister. 

December 2023

Thanks to student mobilization and administrators’ lobbying, the government decreased that proposal to $12,000. However, the government also required that 80% of out-of-province and international students at English-language universities reach a level 5 oral proficiency in French by the time they graduate.

A few days later, McGill and Concordia announced they would offer bursaries to incoming out-of-province students to offset the tuition increase. Though it may seem as though McGill and Concordia’s proposed bursaries have resolved this issue, they truly haven’t.

January-February 2024

Between January 31 and Feb. 2nd, over 11,000 students at McGill and Concordia were on strike. 

The fight for fair and affordable education is not over

  1. It’s unclear how McGill and Concordia will fund these programs in the long term. Decreased enrollment has already affected their revenue and resulted in hiring freezes and budget cuts. Expanding language programs to meet the government’s new French requirements would strain budgets even more. 
  2. Despite their financial crises, McGill and Concordia must cut budgets to sustain these bursaries. Still, they have yet to reveal what will be cut and who will be negatively affected. Further, the bursaries won’t be available for all out-of-province students. McGill says that “approximately 80%” of incoming out-of-province students will be eligible but has yet to explain what criteria separate those students from the other 20%. Concordia is basing eligibility on grade averages, which will exclude low-income and marginalized students who don’t benefit from the myth of meritocracy. 

How SSMU is supporting

If the provincial government disregards our formal attempts to appeal, we must persist and escalate our tactics to demand accessible education for all. 

  1. In conjunction with student associations at Concordia, the SSMU has supported departmental and faculty associations mobilizing against the tuition hike. The objective is to build a democratically organized, long-lasting student movement that will combat the proposed tuition hike and make important strides towards fair and eventually free tuition. We commend the students and associations leading this fight and will continue to support their work. 
  2. A working group has been formed by the SSMU Legislative Council to research the methods by which we can combat tuition hikes, including the possibility of legal action. The working group is currently recruiting for four (4) members-at-large positions. If you want to join this committee, please fill out this form.

How to get involved in the fight at the SSMU

There are many opportunities to get involved:

  • If you are a student,  you can sign up through this form.
  • If you are a student association executive and want to help mobilize your association, please contact external@ssmu.ca
  • Be part as a member-at-large of the working group dedicated to this specific combat via this form.
  • Stay tuned at @ssmu_ea on Instagram!

There is an urgent need for students to organize and mobilize against tuition hikes. Our power lies in the collective! 

In solidarity,

Liam, SSMU VP External

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