Fears of U.S.-style university system unfounded, McGill's principal says - InfoNews

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Fears of U.S.-style university system unfounded, McGill's principal says

June 11, 2012 - 5:04 PM

MONTREAL - The head of a leading Quebec university is trying to dispel concerns that proposed tuition hikes will lead to U.S.-style education costs.

McGill University Principal Heather Munroe-Blum told The Canadian Press that education officials in Quebec want to bring the province in line with the Canadian average.

Munroe-Blum says the hikes are aimed at overcoming a $700 million funding gap that Quebec universities face compared to their counterparts in the rest of Canada.

Protesters fighting the hikes say they want to block any initial step toward an American tuition model. They also argue that any increase will reduce access to higher education.

But Monroe-Blum is challenging both arguments, in a series of interviews she's giving today with media inside and outside Canada.

She says concerns about U.S.-style rates are misguided given that, in the U.S., undergraduates at top schools can be charged as much as $50,000 in a year.

She is also skeptical of the argument about reduced access. She points to figures that suggest Quebec, with its lowest tuition levels in Canada, also has among the lowest rates of university completion.

She says that under the current system, not enough financial resources are reaching students in need.

The provincial government says it would also increase loans and bursaries under its new university-funding plan.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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