M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke and CCSQ, which has campuses in Sherbrooke and Longueuil, have filed for credit protection in court, leaving hundreds of Indian students in a dilemma. Most of these students have already paid their tuition fees (approximately CAD 28,000 to 30,000 for 2 years) and are seeking refunds.
According to the court filing, around 633 students have applied for refunds of their tuition fees. This amount totals CAD 6.4 million. Moreover, refunds for an additional CAD 5 million has been filed by students who have paid their tuition fees but are awaiting their study permit.
CDE president Joseph Mastantuono announced that refund initiation is impossible due to the college applying for credit protection. However, the president of Montreal Herzing College had promised that students who have already paid their tuition fees could continue their education without incurring additional charges.
Most of these private colleges depend entirely on tuition fees to run properly. However, the closure of borders during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic hit these colleges hard. Furthermore, banning direct flights from India to Canada for five months in 2021 worsened the situation.
The number of study permits issued in Quebec in 2020 decreased by 33% compared to the previous year. Moreover, the Quebec government suspended 10 private colleges in 2020 due to questionable recruitment processes. However, despite lifting the ban in January 2021, students faced challenges obtaining study visas due to the severe backlog faced by the IRCC.