Schools Training

Quebec Premiere Offers Tuition Compromise

30 APR 2012
Topic : Education News

With no end in sight to the ongoing Quebec student protests and general strike (and a point of no return date looming for schools), Quebec premiere Jean Charest has tried to coax the students back to class with a series of amendments to the original tuition hike plan. At a press conference with Education Minister Line Beauchamp, Charest highlighted a six-point plan to end an 11-week student strike that has affected 180,000 Quebec students.

Jean Charest

This plan includes:

  • Phasing in the $1,625 increase over seven years instead of the originally proposed five years (amounting to an increase of $254 per year for the next seven years, instead of $325)
  • Indexing future tuition increases to the rate of inflation (indexing of 2.1 per cent a year would begin with the sixth and seventh years)
  • Improving the provincial loans and bursaries programs in place (up to $39 million in bursaries are set to be added)
  • A loosening of the restrictions on financial assistance. Currently, students are eligible if their family income is less than $30,000. Now it would start with a family income of $45,000. Meanwhile,  students whose family income was up to $100,000 could apply for “low-interest student loans”.
  • Repayment of student loans would be proportionate to a graduate’s income.

This is unlikely to win over many of the student protesters, who are looking for a tuition freeze. Mr. Charest made it clear, however, that he isn’t going to budge (even though these compromises point to the opposite).

“I want to address all Quebecers to tell you: My government will never agree to act, or to concede, under the threat of violence and blackmail,” Mr. Charest said.

Education Minister Beauchamp, meanwhile, took the time to scold the striking students, saying, “For an effort of 50 cents a day, it strikes me that it’s no longer time to compromise their diplomas.”  Yeah, that should go over well.

Fittingly, the CLASSE (the “Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante”) dismissed these new proposals in a statement, calling them “an insult more than an offer”. They also said they and other groups would protest a general council meeting of Charest’s Quebec Liberal Party next weekend. Good times.

What do you think about these new proposals?