Help for students to lag fee hikes
Less set aside for aid than in past years
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/04/2010 (4791 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Students will get less financial aid in the package of massive tuition increases the University of Manitoba is pitching than they did when past large fee hikes were imposed.
And this appears to be the first time that U of M’s central administration will take a cut of higher fees.
At least eight schools are developing proposals for large tuition increases for September that president David Barnard will take to Advanced Education Minister Diane McGifford later this month.
The faculty of law this week became the latest school to go public. Acting dean Lorna Turnbull told students there will be a consultation session April 23 over a proposal to increase tuition by 46.2 per cent over three years.
"As you can appreciate, these amounts are significant in terms of the improvements they could support in both our programs and our bursaries. What these improvements might encompass has not yet been determined," Turnbull told law students. "For students, of course, the timing could not be worse."
Kyle Lamothe, president of the Manitoba Law Students Association, said the wording of Turnbull’s letter makes clear that the higher fees are a "top-down" proposal from administration received only last week, and that it is not law’s idea to try to jack up fees.
Turnbull could not be reached Tuesday.
U of M public affairs director John Danakas said the administration did ask deans "whether they feel a case can be made for higher fees, and if so, to develop a proposal."
Danakas said tuition is much lower than at similar universities and the administration knows there’s an opportunity to make a case to the province, but each school decides what it will request, if anything.
The U of M has issued its own internal guidelines, including putting 15 per cent of higher tuition into student aid, returning 15 per cent to the university for the costs of shared services such as libraries, and allowing faculties and professional schools to keep 70 per cent for their own purposes. The university is telling department heads: "The target level for fees in a professional faculty will be the average of fees in comparable faculties in other medical and doctoral universities in Canada."
That 15 per cent for student aid is lower than students received in professional schools’ fee hikes earlier in the decade.
Three years ago, a 38.5 per cent increase in engineering fees specified that 25 per cent of the new money go to student aid.
A 91 per cent increase for law early in the decade directed 30 per cent to student aid, while a 79 per cent increase for dentistry in 2001 created 10 bursaries equal to 17.2 per cent of those new fees.
Meanwhile, engineering dean Doug Ruth’s breakdown of the higher fees three years ago did not include any money going back to the university. In 2003, then vice-president of administration Mike McAdam said that law, dentistry and pharmacy would keep 100 per cent of their higher fees.
U of M Faculty Association president Prof. Brad McKenzie has called for a moratorium on any increases, until schools can justify the proposals to their students, and until the university looks for other ways to prevent erosion of the quality of education.
"They’re extraordinary increases that place the problems squarely on the shoulders of the students," he said.
"Government needs to stand up and say no," said U of M Students Union president Sid Rashid.
Rashid said the proposed student aid would be inadequate to ensure accessibility, adding there’s no evidence that bursaries would cover higher fees for students who can barely afford current tuition.