Quebec has been expanding more than $ 100 million over five years to encourage CEGEP students from major urban centers to go study in the regions.
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Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann wants to breathe new life into the interregional mobility program, which has existed in the university network for five years, but has not yet produced all the expected results.
From 2016 to 2017, a total of $ 7.5 million was invested in it, benefiting more than 1,000 young people.
The new version of the program, which will be funded with $ 112 million over five years, now aims to persuade 5,000 young people from big cities to go to study at 18 CEGEPs in the regions.
Starting in the fall of 2022, these students will be able to receive a $ 7,500 scholarship for each year of study. All programs will be eligible.
The CEGEPs that organize them will also receive $ 1,500 per young person to promote the program, improve scholarships, or organize admissions activities.
Minister McCann will announce this today in Cégep de Saint-Félicien, along with MNA for Roberval, Nancy Guillemette.
Quebec bets that with this program renamed “Parcours”, many young graduates will choose to stay forever in several regions, which will contribute to their vitality.
This financial assistance can be combined with the Perspectives Québec Scholarship Program, which focuses on study programs where there is a severe labor shortage.
Filling cities in the region
The initiative also makes it possible to respond to the very specific challenge of lack of space in the network of universities.
In Montreal, many CEGEPs are overcrowded and several expansion projects are underway, while there are approximately 9,000 seats available in regional facilities.
However, it remains to be seen whether the additional amounts will be enough to persuade more students living in Quebec and Montreal to move to Matane, Baie-Comeau or Alma to study.
The interregional mobility program, which was set up five years ago, was relatively unknown to young people, according to the Federation of Quebec College Students (FECQ), which initiated the initiative.
Until recently, scholarships were administered by local, regional CEGEPs. The amount of grants, eligible study programs and advertising varied from institution to institution.
To raise awareness of the program, the student federation proposed in a recent announcement a national advertising campaign to reach students, especially in urban centers.