You can't get a champagne education on a beer budget. That's what McGill University has basically told the province of Quebec, as it raised its tuition fees for their MBA program by 900% in an effort to keep it competitive. The province has responded by fining the university, saying that it violates the principle of broad access. While the fine amount has not yet been determined, it appears that this will be a moot point, as the university now plans to privatize its MBA program, following in the footsteps of Queen's and the Richard Ivey School of Business.
You have to be proud of the province for taking this step. While more and more universities are raising their rates and driving up student debts, the province of Quebec has recognized that access to education is a right and that increased levels of education lead to better social and economic outcomes for the province as a whole. Everyone benefits from increased rates of literacy, both personally and professionally.
The University argues that the low rates have kept them from being competitive. It claims to be years behind schools like Queen's and Richard Ivey, which is surprising considering that MacLeans magazine has put them on top of their national rankings. As usual, the University will pride itself on the being number one when it comes time to recruit, but will act like the poor cousin when discussing its finances. I believe in some places that they call that 'cooking the books.' That's sophisticated economic speak right there.
The University also argues that students support the increases in rates because it increases the quality of their education. Which is very typical of MBA type executives- they're not exactly champions of social justice. While it's fair to say that it's hard to get an ivy-league education with antiquated books and computers, I highly doubt that's the improvement that the University is seeking.
The University offers its program for roughly $30,000 for a two year program, not including textbooks or housing. Not exactly American rates, but still not a walk in the park. A part-time job at Tim Horton's is not exactly going to cover it and that's what most teens do before venturing off to school on their own. But the principle remains and it should remain: education should be accessible. And the province should fight it- all the way to the bank if they have to.