Scholar mobility program Pathways | Confusion About Scholarships

Students eligible for the new regional mobility program only learned after the start of the school year that they would not receive the $7,500 stipend announced by the government. The Quebec Collegiate Student Federation is calling for “more clarity and transparency” in the awarding of scholarships, which are at the discretion of the CEGEPs.

“When we saw the stock market, we thought wow! It really is an opportunity. It was an encouragement for my daughter,” says Estelle Lagueux The press.

This mother is referring to the new regional mobility program Parcours, announced in May, which aims to attract 5,000 college students to the region within 5 years.

Beginning this fall, students enrolling in one of the 18 regional CEGEPs are eligible for an annual stipend of $7,500 across all programs combined.

The only conditions are that the student must be enrolled in a CEGEP more than 60km from their place of residence and the program must not be offered in an establishment within this radius.

Ms daughterme All these requirements were met by Lagueux, who enrolled at the Cégep de Jonquière for film and television technology. It was even the announcement of the Parcours program that convinced her to emigrate to the region (her daughter had also applied for admission to a Montreal university). The only surprise came in mid-September: she found out that she was ultimately out of the question for the scholarship.

She was disappointed. It forces me to compensate her and she has less wiggle room [financièrement].

Estelle Lagueux, mother of a student

“It was difficult to know the selection criteria. I didn’t find it really transparent,” she adds.

Her daughter is probably not the only one in her situation. At Cégep de Jonquière, “a few hundred students” were theoretically eligible for the course program, the facility says. However, only 24 scholarships were awarded.

The Quebec Collegiate Student Federation regrets “the lack of clarity and transparency” in the selection criteria, which are left to the discretion of CEGEPs.

“There are lessons to be learned” over the next few years, believes its president, Maya Labrosse.

“We had to give ourselves a little time”

Eligible institutions receive a budget from Quebec equal to a limited number of Parcours grants.

If the number of scholarships offered is not sufficient, the institution is responsible for “giving priority to certain applications for admission”, the Ministry of Higher Education specifies by e-mail. It is also listed on their website.

According to Quebec, the CEGEPs have been informed of the amounts that would be granted to them under the 2022-2023 CEGEP Budgetary and Financial Regime adopted in May.

“However, we had to take a little time to set everything up and to establish the conditions for managing the grant in our CEGEP,” explains Sabrina Potvin, communications coordinator of the Cégep de Jonquière.

She says students were emailed in June that the number of scholarships on offer was limited. The selection criteria were only announced after the start of the school year: six courses, including building services engineering and industrial process engineering, were preferred by the CEGEP “because of their poor performance”. The film and television technology course is not one of them.

A number of grants were also awarded to students who were already involved in the old version of the interregional mobility scheme.

Episode: “There were very few scholarships for freshmen,” says potwine

Even the CEGEP reached into its own budget to ensure that all students enrolled in the target programs are awarded a scholarship rather than making ‘a lot’.

Insufficient Scholarships

The Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles also had more eligible students than available scholarships. “We needed 148 scholarships and we had 66,” says Marie Nowak, communications consultant.

The institution has prioritized programs experiencing recruitment difficulties and students admitted to the first and second rounds of admissions. The other scholarships offered were also taken into account in the selection.

Most scholarship recipients were notified in June, but other students received scholarships in the fall after retiring over the summer.

The Department of Higher Education, for its part, argues that $6.3 million has been earmarked for the first year of the program, the equivalent of 1,000 scholarships. At the moment, “all grants appear to have been awarded,” an email read.

learn lessons for the future

The Quebec Collegiate Student Federation is reviewing the situation reported by The press. “It’s a great program, but the institutions really didn’t have much time to prepare,” notes Maya Labrosse.

However, she asks that in future the selection criteria of each institution be clearly stated when applying for accreditation, as these may differ from CEGEP to CEGEP.

“We also hope that the number of scholarships will be sufficient for the number of eligible students,” she adds.

Next year, Quebec’s budget for the program will increase to $19.1 million, and then increase to $37 million in 2026-2027.

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