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Adjusting tuition fees based on program costs would be fairer, and a majority of undergraduate students would pay less

  • An undergraduate sociology student would save $577 per year.
  • An undergraduate psychology student would save $1,169 per year.

Montreal, January 10, 2023 – Adjusting tuition fees in Quebec based on program costs would be fairer, and would be less expensive for over half of undergraduate students, according to a new publication released this morning by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).

“Psychology students should not have to pay a larger proportion of the costs of their education than those studying veterinary medicine,” says Michel Poitevin, senior fellow at the MEI and author of the study. “Yet this is exactly the kind of aberration created by Quebec’s one-size-fits-all fee system. By adjusting tuition fees as we propose, a whole bunch of students would pay less—notably those in the social sciences.”

Under the current system, regardless of the program or level of study, Quebec students all pay the same tuition fees, namely $2,725 per year in 2021-2022.

However, costs vary significantly from one program to another. Under the current system, the government subsidizes universities to the tune of $3,807.54 per year for a psychology undergraduate, and $55,247.41 for an undergraduate studying veterinary medicine.

By also adjusting tuition fees based on program costs, Quebec students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology would see their fees fall to $1,556 per year, a savings of $1,169. Students in administration, law, and the humanities would see their fees fall to $2,148 per year, a savings of $577.

According to the author, this would lead to 55% of Quebec undergraduate students paying substantially less in tuition fees.

“The programs with the highest costs, like veterinary medicine or dentistry, are generally those associated with the highest salaries,” says Michel Poitevin. “By adjusting tuition fees in this way, Quebec would be fairer to all students, while reducing financial pressures for many of them.”

The MEI study is available here.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.

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