Manitoba students in post-secondary education may have to shell out more money for their tuition.
Post-secondary tuition will be able to go up by five per cent plus the rate of inflation, Education Minister Ian Wishart announced Monday afternoon.
The change allows Manitoba universities to set tuition fees “that better reflect the cost of delivering programs,” according Wishart.
Wishart said tuition will still be the lowest in Western Canada (the third lowest in the country).
“Our priority is ensuring Manitoba students have access to affordable, high-quality education at post-secondary institutions close to home,” he said.
The former NDP government froze tuition fees for a decade starting in 1999, and later limited any increases to the rate of inflation. Universities and colleges complained they were being squeezed financially and tried to raise money through a variety of user fees.
Students were also present at the Manitoba legislature protesting the hike. Dozens chanted “fight the fees” while holding a banner that read “education for all.” The Canadian Federation of Students argued a tuition hike isn’t good for the economy.
“This is higher than the rate of inflation; food, rent and transportation costs that students are facing. It’s going to leave our generation more in debt,” Michael Barkman said. Students on campus told Global News many of them choose to live with their parents to avoid racking up debt.
Wishart noted the proposed changes would come into effect for the 2018/2019 academic year.
The province said the proposed changes would achieve a balance between protecting the affordability of post-secondary education in Manitoba and reducing the administrative burden on universities “associated with the annual process of tuition and fee approvals through government.”
The legislation does not include the Canadian Mennonite University, a private degree-granting institution.
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