Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

In-tuition

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University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy has found a lucrative, politically astute way around the province's tuition-fee cap. Pressed for cash, the university is charging students a $5-per-credit-hour fee. The new technology levy will help fund the president's goal of expanding the U of W into the virtual, online university world.

The fee amounts to more than a four per cent hike to full-time tuition, well above the 1.6 per cent tuition hike the province has allowed. (The tuition increase will cost U of W students $29 on average; the tech fee, $90.)

A decade of tuition-fee freezes, recently thawed, has kept Manitoba tuitions far below the national average. It is politically popular, but at a discernible cost to universities. Mr. Axworthy and University of Manitoba president David Barnard feel the Selinger government should let them determine the tuition hikes; the province is sticking to its inflationary-hike policy.

The technology fee will boost the U of W's revenues, while playing to the province's tuition-cap charade. This year, U of W students will pay $140 more to attend, largely as a result of the technology fee. Using ancillary fees to finance bigger pieces of the university budget allows the political masters to pretend they are defending affordable post-secondary education. A tuition hike if necessary, but not necessarily a tuition hike.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2013 A8

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