New university funding policy | Candies reserved for “priority areas” of Quebec

(Quebec) The Legault government is revising the university funding policy to encourage them to respond to the labor shortage in certain sectors. They will receive $700 per registered student and $9,000 per graduate in “priority areas”.

What there is to know

  • A major review of university funding will be announced soon.
  • According to a document that The Press obtained, Quebec will pay universities $700 for each registered student and $9,000 for each graduate in “priority areas”.
  • The targeted fields are engineering, teaching, information technology, health and social services.

The fields targeted by Quebec are engineering, teaching, information technology, health and social services. These are the same areas targeted by the government with its Perspective Québec student grants, a program launched two years ago and whose results are disappointing, according to the University of Montreal.

The Press has obtained a presentation document from the Ministry of Higher Education about the “main measures” of the new university funding policy which will be unveiled later this spring. Minister Pascale Déry declined an interview request.

Every five years, Quebec reviews its funding policy and the distribution of the approximately four billion dollars it pays to universities annually. The new directions are eagerly awaited.

The government estimates the impact of the “main measures provided for in the new financing policy” at 428 million per year over the long term, within five years.

The largest measure, estimated at $170 million, aims to increase student enrollment and graduation in “priority areas.”

New rules

On the one hand, a new budgetary rule will be created “in order to support the increase in cohorts and the perseverance of people enrolled in university programs in priority areas”. The targeted baccalaureate programs are in the fields of “engineering, information technology, teaching, and health and social services.” The measure also concerns the master’s degree in social work and the doctorate in psychology.

“For each person registered” in one or other of the targeted programs, “the establishment receives the sum of $700,” we can read in the document. Quebec estimates that this registration incentive measure would ultimately cost 50 million per year.

The rest of the envelope (120 of the 170 million) is devoted to a new budgetary rule aimed at “promoting the increase in the number of people with degrees in priority areas”.

“The allocation is calculated on the basis of the number of people who obtained a university degree by successfully completing a program in a priority field during the last declared calendar year, at the rate of $9,000 per bachelor’s degree, $9,000 per master’s degree and $10,000 per doctorate. »

Effective scholarships?

This is not the government’s first attempt to increase registrations in labor shortage sectors.

For two years, it has paid a $2,500 scholarship to each full-time student registered in the same “priority” programs, under its Perspective Québec program.

Gold, The Press wrote in November 2022 that certain establishments such as the University of Montreal had observed a decrease in registrations despite the scholarships1. Its rector Daniel Jutras confirmed the continuation of this downward trend in an interview with Radio-Canada this week.


The rector of the University of Montreal, Daniel Jutras, last February

The university increased from 6,600 students enrolled in 2021 to 5,402 in 2023 in programs related to education, information technology, health and social services. The rector questions the effectiveness of the measure.

The government replies that the total number of university students who benefited from a scholarship increased from 34,992 in fall 2022 to 37,231 in fall 2023. This is an increase of 2,239 (or 6.4%) . The scholarship is not paid automatically; each student must apply.

If we take into account CEGEP students enrolled in fields also targeted by Quebec, nearly 400 million have been distributed over the past two years in scholarships, out of a budget of 1.7 billion in five years.

Recruit and integrate foreign students

The new funding policy provides for an envelope of $100 million per year, ultimately, to “support the efforts of French-speaking university establishments, mainly”, to recruit, welcome and integrate Canadian students who are not residents of Quebec and international students.

This measure is financed directly by the new pricing policy announced by Pascale Déry in December. Tuition fees will increase from $9,000 to $12,000 per year for Canadian students not residing in Quebec next fall. This measure affects McGill and Concordia – Bishop’s benefits from a form of exemption. Students from the rest of Canada who study at a French-speaking university will continue to pay $9,000. For foreign students, Quebec has decided to set a floor rate of $20,000, an amount from which it will receive approximately $3,000.

The new financing policy also provides for “temporary compensation” of 55 million “in order to ensure a harmonious transition between the old and new pricing”.

Revised allocations

Quebec modifies various allocations of the old university funding policy and increases the total pot from 248 to 300 million dollars, an increase of 52 million.

In addition, Quebec is increasing unconditional funding for all universities to make them less dependent on subsidies based primarily on the number of students.

Changes are being made to allocations for regional, small or “special mission” universities.

The “resource region establishments” – UQAR, UQAC and UQAT – will receive six million each “for maintaining a range of services throughout Quebec”. “Research mission establishments” benefit from a special allocation (35 million for INRS, 2.5 million for UQAR and one million for Bishop’s). There is another “special allocation for government missions”: for example, the head office of the University of Quebec will receive six million for its operations and 20 million for the “radiation of the UQ network”, which has 10 establishments.

Furthermore, a new budgetary rule is put in place, worth 50 million per year, to increase funding for “information resources and digital transformation”.

1. Read the article “Fight against the labor shortage: scholarships with limited effects”

Learn more

  • 3%
    Tuition fee indexation rate that will be imposed on students this fall. This corresponds to the ceiling set in the Law limiting the indexation of several government rates in force since last year.

    Source: document from the Ministry of Higher Education obtained by the press


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