A look at international tuition fee exemptions in Quebec

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Through various inter-governmental agreements and initiatives, the province of Quebec allows several groups of international students to benefit from an exemption from international tuition fees.

To encourage international students to undertake post-secondary studies in the province, Quebec offers special international tuition exemptions for students coming from abroad.

In general, international students who come to Quebec on a study permit to attend a public college and obtain a degree must pay tuition fees specific to international students.

These fees vary from program to program, but on average, the annual cost for an international student can be around $17,000 at the college level and around $24,000 at the undergraduate level. Often, these costs do not include registration and admission fees, health insurance or course materials. As a result, the cost of education in Quebec can become rather high and prohibitive.

It is a little-known fact, but Quebec offers great incentives to international students wishing to study in the province. Some have been in place for many years, and others have been introduced more recently. The following is an overview of the groups of students who can benefit from exemptions to the higher tuition fees that normally apply to international students who come study in Quebec.

Study fee exemptions in areas outside of Montreal 

The most recent initiative was announced in May of 2022 and aims to promote the long-term settlement of international students in the regions of Quebec.

The Quebec government has allocated $80 million over four years to encourage international students to undertake post-secondary studies in French in the regions.

International students who meet the eligibility criteria may be exempted from the added tuition fees that normally apply to them. In fact, for the duration of their studies, eligible international students will now only pay the same basic tuition fees as all Quebec students, which is approximately $3,000 for a full-time undergraduate student. Students will also be able to work up to 20 hours per week while they are studying to meet the labour needs of employers in the region.

To be eligible, students must attend a regional institution of higher learning, located outside the Montreal Metropolitan Area, and pursue a full-time program of study in French in one of the priority sectors, namely information technology, engineering, health and social services, education, and early childhood education.

This measure is expected to come into effect in the fall of 2023.

Tuition exemption for French and Belgians students 

In addition to this initiative, Quebec has agreements with France and Belgium regarding tuition fees for French and Belgian francophone students coming to the province.

French and Belgian francophone students enrolled in undergraduate programs pay the same basic fees as Canadian students. French and Belgian students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program or in a technical college or vocational training program pay Quebec tuition fees.

To be eligible, students must hold a valid passport from France or Belgium and a study permit that complies with Canadian immigration regulations. A certificate of acceptance from Quebec is also required.

Tuition exemptions for students from other countries 

Finally, many international students are also eligible for an exemption from paying supplementary tuition fees if their country or international organization is a signatory to a student mobility agreement. Selection criteria vary by country and agreement, so it is best to first check with the governmental authorities that administer these exemptions.

Quebec is a French-speaking stronghold in North America where French is spoken by most of the population. Thanks to the province’s exceptional tuition exemptions, international students have a unique chance to experience the richness of a culture and the opportunity to benefit from an internationally recognized education and exposure to some of the world’s most outstanding teachers and scholars.