Munroe-Blum: Lifting of tuition fee freeze a step in the right direction


Following an announcement on June 28, 2007, by Quebec Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, McGill University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Heather Munroe-Blum, has expressed satisfaction that the freeze on tuition fees will be lifted.

“Although we believe that the tuition fee increase should be accelerated, we would like to acknowledge the significance of this decision for the Cabinet. We are pleased that the financial aid program has also been adjusted and that improvements have been made to the program. We are convinced that accessibility to a university education can be maintained by taking an approach of shared responsibility for university funding. Contributions are required from all partners: governments, students, the private sector and individual donors.” At McGill, a portion of the increased fees will be used for student aid.

The Principal used the opportunity of these announcements to underscore that Quebec universities need sizeable investments to stay competitive. They face a major funding gap in comparison to other Canadian universities. This gap will have to be closed through a collective effort involving not only federal reinvestments but also a clear commitment by the Quebec government to provide additional funding for its universities.

The internationalization of university teaching is a benefit for all of Quebec society and McGill recruits students from around the world. The possibility for universities to keep a portion of the tuition fees paid by international students is a welcome change. McGill believes that the tuition fees charged to international students should be competitive with those in other provinces. In this respect, there is still a major discrepancy with the fees charged at the vast majority of other Canadian universities.

“I firmly believe in the principle of universal access to a university education, which should not be dependent on a student’s financial capacity. However, I am also firmly convinced that the costs of a university education should be shared by all partners to ensure that Quebec enjoys an enviable place among advanced societies,” concluded the Principal.