Explanation of government offer of May 5, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quebec, May 5, 2012.

Students,

As you know, a blitz of negotiations with the Quebec government has continued over the past few hours on the question of the tuition fee increase. The delegations of the student associations conclude these meetings with an offer from the Government. Here are the details.

Establishment of a Provisional Council of universities, aiming to resolve management problems and enforce cost-saving measures, particuarly in endeavours outside of the fundamental purposes of universities. In this area, it will address problems stemming from campus expansion, advertising spending, real-estate irresponsibility, staff management, accountability and interfund transfers. In addition, it aims to create a permanent oversight committee. This council is composed of four students, four representatives from labor, two socio-economic actors, a representative of the Federation of CEGEPs, six University presidents/rectors, one representative of the MELS and a president (the latter two are recommended by the Board and appointed by the Minister).

Note that these domains are all able to liberate funds providing they're properly managed. The deadline for the committee to deliver its report is December 2012. Until then, a $127 increase per semester is compensated for by an equivalent decrease in mandatory institutional fees, as will savings from cutting extravagent spending. Should the committee be unable to fulfill its mandate on time, this measure will be renewed in winter 2013.

Based on the findings of the interim committee, every dollar saved through cutting extravagent spending will be removed from students bills' starting with the mandatory institutional fees. Remember that these fees were conceived in the 1990s with the express goal of circumventing the tuition freeze, and that they have been regulated since 2008, which has been renewed.

In addition, all items in the overall proposal presented by the government May 27, 2012 are still on the table. As such, the parental contribution threshold will increase to $45,000, the loan program will extend to a family income of $100,000, The increase is spread over seven years ($1,778, or $254 per year or $157 per semester) and an RPR will be introduced. In addition, the CEUQ becomes the permanent council of universities.

In the coming days, you will have to decide on this offer and the question of returning to class. Please, don't hesitate to ask questions to better understand this proposal, either by facebook or online. The necessary information was also sent to representatives of your respective associations: do not hesitate to ask for clarification. 

So, in short, here are the good points

  • The student bill is effectively frozen.
  • The mandatory institutional fees will drop in equivelance to fee increases
  • The rules applying to institutional fees will continue.
  • Bursaries are improved by raising the threshold of parental contribution to $45,000
  • Loans available to households making up to $100,000
  • Permanent governance committee.
  • Dimunition of CRÉPUQ's unilateral authority (via the Council of Universities)
  • Creation of an emergency, temporary organisation to deal with university administration's errors in governance.
  • Students in Fall 2013 will save more than students in the winter of 2012

Bad points

  • Increase of $1,778 in 7 years ($254 per year)
  • The battle continues in the provisional council.