Quebec is allocating more than $100 million over five years to encourage CEGEP students from major urban centers to study in the regions.
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Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann wants to revive the interregional mobility program that has been in existence for five years in the college network, but which so far has not delivered all the expected results.
Since 2016-2017, a total of $7.5 million has been invested in it and more than 1,000 young people have benefited from it.
The new version of this program, which will amount to $112 million in five years, now aims to convince 5,000 young people from the large cities to study in 18 CEGEPs in the regions.
Beginning in the fall of 2022, these students can receive a $7,500 scholarship for each academic year. All programs are eligible.
The CEGEPs that host them also receive $1,500 per youth to promote the program, enhance scholarships, or organize reception activities.
Secretary McCann will make the announcement today at Cégep de Saint-Félicien, along with MNA for Roberval, Nancy Guillemette.
Quebec is betting that with this program, renamed “Parcours”, many young graduates will decide to stay in different regions for good, which will add to their vitality.
This financial support can be combined with the Perspectives Québec scholarship program, which focuses on programs of study where there are serious labor shortages.
Filling spaces in the region
The initiative also makes it possible to respond to a very concrete challenge of lack of space in the university college network.
In Montreal, many CEGEPs are overcrowded and several expansion projects are underway, while approximately 9,000 places are available in regional branches.
However, it remains to be seen whether the additional amounts will be enough to convince more students living in Quebec and Montreal to move to Matane, Baie-Comeau or Alma for their studies.
The interregional mobility program launched five years ago was relatively unknown to young people, according to the Federation of Quebec College Students (FECQ), which initiated this initiative.
Until recently, exchanges were administered locally by regional CEGEPs. Grant amounts, eligible curricula, and advertising varied from institution to institution.
To raise awareness of this program, the Student Federation recently proposed a nationwide advertising campaign to target students in urban centers in particular.