02/12/2015 05:28 EST | Updated 04/14/2015 05:59 EDT

Quebec to triple university tuition rate for students from France

Students from France hoping to take advantage of a partnership extending Quebec’s cheap tuition fees to French citizens will soon be sorely disappointed.

Quebec International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre announced Thursday new undergraduate students from France will have to pay the out-of-province Canadian tuition rate at Quebec universities.

Starting next September, all new French students entering into a Bachelor’s degree at a Quebec university will have to pay the out-of-province rate.

People who are already enrolled at a Quebec university will see their reduced rates grandfathered until the end of their Bachelor’s degrees.

Under the revised agreement announced Thursday, students from France will pay about $6,650 a year, the same amount paid by students from the rest of Canada.  French students currently pay the same fees as Quebec students, about $2,200.

Master’s and PhD students from France will continue to benefit from the lower Quebec-resident tuition rates.

McGill supports move

Suzanne Fortier, McGill University's principal and vice-chancellor, praised the increase, saying it was time to raise the tuition rate for French students.

“It was increasingly difficult to explain to Canadian students from outside Quebec why their fee level was quite a bit higher than students from France,” Fortier said. 

McGill has about 1500 undergraduate students from France, Fortier said.

Across the province, there were 8,693 Bachelor’s students from France in Quebec in 2013, according to data compiled by the Quebec education ministry. At the same time, there were 2,632 Master’s students and 1,170 PhD students.

In 2014, there were 8,964 Bachelor’s students, 1,654 Master’s students and 603 PhD students.

France consistently sends more international students to Quebec than to any other country.