Post-secondary tuition set to jump this fall


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University and college students in Manitoba will start paying more towards their education in the next academic year, the Manitoba government said Wednesday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/04/2009 (5160 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

University and college students in Manitoba will start paying more towards their education in the next academic year, the Manitoba government said Wednesday.

University students will see a 4.5 per cent increase in tuition per class and college students will pay up to $100 more than they did this year, Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford said.

The hike means an arts student taking a full course load will pay $135 more in tuition.

University and college administrators welcomed the increase, but stopped short of breaking out in hallelujahs.

Officials from Red River College, University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg said while they are glad the Doer government’s decade-long tuition freeze is gone, the hike announced by McGifford still falls far short of dealing with rising salaries, budget shortfalls and shrinking endowment fund investments.

“We believe there could have been a larger increase,” Red River president Jeff Zabudsky said. “Tuition in Manitoba is still way below national average.”

Manitoba’s university tuition is about $1,000 below the Canadian average and its college tuition is $700 below the national average.

McGifford said the increase is fair given today’s economy.

“Universities probably want a greater increase. Students want no increase. What we’re trying to do is find a balance,” she said.

The big unknown for administrators is if fees will rise again in 2010-11.

“Given all the factors, we felt we couldn’t give you a three-year forecast,” McGifford said. “That would have been a very laudable aim, but I think until the economy is on a more even keel that may be a very difficult thing to do.”

McGifford was responding to a report by Ben Levin, former deputy minister of education, on tuition and accessibility. He recommended “moderate” tuition increases capped at $150 a year for university students and $125 for college students. Levin also said the province should concentrate on getting more students into post-secondary school and set targets to increase participation by under-represented groups, such as aboriginal, rural, northern, part-time and mature students.

Deborah McCallum, U of M vice-president of administration, said in preparing its budget, the university assumed a 10.9 per cent increase in tuition fees.

“We have a lot of difficult work to do in putting a balanced budget together by May,” she said.

Dan Hurley, senior executive officer at the U of W, said the institution is faced with a recent court decision that may require it to find $6 million to pay into its pension fund.

The U of W is already is asking its employees for millions of dollars in voluntary concessions.

The Levin report also recommend the province increase student aid by $7 million and dump post-secondary tax credits to help pay for his recommendations.

McGifford said the province has not finished acting on the report.

“Some things can be done now. Some things will be in the near future or are being worked on. And some things are long-range plans that have to be discussed very broadly within government,” she said.

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