Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University (PGSS) denounces unexpected cuts to university budgets and scholarship programs

MONTREAL, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University (PGSS) calls on the Quebec government to reverse the cuts to university budgets and scholarship programs.

The Quebec government demands that universities cut their 2012-13 budgets by $124M or 5.2% before the end of April. Universities, therefore, will have to implement this cut with just over four months remaining in the fiscal year. The cut represents a reduction of funding for McGill University of between $17M and $21M. We are concerned that it will have a negative impact on teaching and research, and students will be directly affected.

The Government has also cut funding to scholarship programs for Quebec graduate students and postdoctoral fellows: 30% or $14.9M to the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FQRNT); 13% or $10M to the Fonds de la recherche en santé (FRQS); and 13% or $6.3M to the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FQRSC). These cuts could affect students' accessibility to graduate programs and recent graduates' accessibility to postdoctoral positions.

With the Quebec Summit on Higher Education to be held in February, these cuts undermine the Government's credibility to genuinely address the issue of higher education funding. The Government needs to work together with all stakeholders—most of all students—to find long-term, sustainable solutions to fund higher education.

There has also been a lack of clarity about the level of tuition fees for out-of-province and international students since the decision to freeze tuition fees for Quebec students. Speculation of a 7.6% increase in mandatory institutional fees for international students has created unease and confusion amongst students.

We call on the Quebec government to immediately reverse their decisions to cut university budgets as well as funding to scholarship programs for Quebec graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and to provide clarity to out-of-province and international students on tuition fees.

About the Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University (PGSS)

The PGSS is the representative body for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at McGill University, and lobbies and advocates on their behalf. It also coordinates numerous services, activities, and benefits for its members.

SOURCE: POST-GRADUATE STUDENTS' SOCIETY OF MCGILL UNIVERSITY (PGSS)

For further information:

Errol Salamon, External Affairs Officer
Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University (PGSS)
514-706-5640
external.pgss@mail.mcgill.ca