CAQ wants two-tiered university system

Posted By: Angelica Montgomery · 1/28/2013 4:31:00 PM

François Legault says a handful of elite universities in Quebec should be allowed to charge students what they want, within certain limits.

The CAQ leader says this will ensure some Quebec universities have enough funding to compete with the great institutions of the world.

"We can not afford to have 18 of the best universities in the world, but we can also not afford to have none of them," he says.

He says it is a myth that all of Quebec's universities can operate under the same funding formula. "The situation is not the same with Chicoutimi as with McGill university. The challenges are not the same."

Legault argues that the University of Montreal is losing one professor a month to institutions outside of Quebec.

Important research universities

Legault says four universities should be recognized as having an important research mission: McGill, Laval, Sherbrooke, and the University of Montreal. He says some other universities could gain this special designation for specific programs.

They would then have more freedom to charge students at a higher level.

Legault says the other schools should weigh their tuition fees based on the cost of their programs. In some cases, he says, fees would go down.

Rich school, poor school

Legault says some universities are not facing the same financial pressures. "They have to be of quality, but essentially they teach students. They don't do much research, so its not the same," he says.

Legault says Quebec's system of grants and loans would still allow poorer students to attend the "elite" schools. His party is also proposing that students pay back their loans based on their post-graduation income, and have their loans forgiven after 10 years.

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