September 19, 2019

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Universities, colleges need big grant hikes to avoid cuts

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/3/2009 (3835 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MANITOBA'S universities and colleges don't have a clue what the Doer government will do with tuition in Wednesday's provincial budget -- but they need double-digit grant increases to avoid having to cut jobs, programs and services.

"We're certainly not expecting a blanket 'lid is off,'" said University of Manitoba president David Barnard.

"We don't have any notion of what the cap will be," echoed University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy.

Advanced Education Minister Diane McGifford promised a year ago to lift the freeze off tuition for the 2009-2010 school year.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/3/2009 (3835 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 David Barnard

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

David Barnard

MANITOBA'S universities and colleges don't have a clue what the Doer government will do with tuition in Wednesday's provincial budget — but they need double-digit grant increases to avoid having to cut jobs, programs and services.

"We're certainly not expecting a blanket 'lid is off,'" said University of Manitoba president David Barnard.

"We don't have any notion of what the cap will be," echoed University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy.

Advanced Education Minister Diane McGifford promised a year ago to lift the freeze off tuition for the 2009-2010 school year.

The province appointed former deputy minister of education Benjamin Levin to study tuition and accessibility, but his report that had been due March 31 is now delayed.

"Frankly, getting it six days after the budget comes down was going to be of no value this year," said Scott Lamont, vice-president of finance for Brandon University.

Lamont expects the province will begin some gradual raising of tuition for next fall, but "I would be surprised if it was allowed to increase as much as five per cent," he said.

The NDP froze tuition at 1999 levels when it came to power. In addition, the province provides students with a further 10 per cent rebate on their tuition. "We're expecting the freeze will be lifted, because that's what they said," Barnard said.

U of M needs a 10.7 per cent increase in grants, he said, if it is to avoid cuts.

Axworthy and Lamont said their schools need around 10 per cent increases in grants.

However, for roughly every 2.3 to four per cent that tuition rises, individual schools' grant needs would drop by one percentage point. The ratio differs because of the grants and tuition levels that have built up at each school over many years.

Red River College could maintain the status quo with the five to seven per cent grant increases of recent years, said president Jeff Zabudsky. "We'd be very pleased, and could make that work."

Zabudsky pointed out Red River's average yearly tuition is just over $1,400, less than half the cost of undergraduate university tuition, and much less than community colleges charge in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

With Manitoba's kindergarten to Grade 12 enrolment dropping steadily, U of W hopes to keep its enrolment steady by attracting more aboriginal students, adult learners and international students. But BU is budgeting for a three per cent drop in students, and U of M for about 1.5 to two per cent fewer students.

Axworthy said that U of W faces additional problems.

U of W will look to make up scholarship losses from the economy's effect on interest earned by, and gifts to, endowment funds. And it is still waiting to find out how much money the university has to pay into its pension fund, after professors won a court case over changes U of W made to its contributions several years ago.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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