Universities and colleges in Manitoba won’t be getting as much funding from the province in this year’s budget. And they may turn to students to help fill the gap.
The province is decreasing its support for post-secondary institutions by 0.9 per cent, or about $6 million.
Now post-secondary institutions around Manitoba are left to make up the difference.
University of Manitoba President David Barnard has already confirmed his university will be raising tuition fees.
“We’re certainly planning for a tuition increase in the fall,” University of Manitoba president David Barnard said Monday.
“We think we’re substantially below the tuition fees for other universities like us in other provinces, so we think we’ll take advantage of the opportunity.”
Barnard is correct. The average domestic undergraduate student taking a full course load at Canadian university will pay just under $6,000 a year in tuition fees.
For students in Manitoba, that figure is significantly lower — the University of Manitoba charges students $4,100 per year for a standard undergraduate 30 credit hour course load.
Manitoba is also the third cheapest province for international students attending post-secondary institutions, just behind Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.
Barnard said the university isn’t simply raising tuition fees in the wake of this recent funding cut.
“We’ve been looking hard at administration and been trying to slim it down and we’ve gone some distance on that,” he said. “There are probably a couple of additional things we can do, but we’ll also be looking at how we have to tailor our programs to the money that’s available to us.”
READ MORE: Breaking down the 2018 Manitoba budget
Students weren’t thrilled to hear they may have to pay more this coming year.
“It’s really concerning for us as a students’ union, seeing this responsibility being offloaded into students rather than the provincial government taking responsibility for education in this province,” University of Winnipeg Students’ Association president Laura Garinger said.
“We have seen a lack of commitment in this government to fund post-secondary education in this province,” Canadian Federation of Students’ Dele Ojewole said.
“This budget is a total disaster for us.”
Ojewole said he expects the funding cut to impact many students across the province, and along with the passing of Bill 31, to deter potential students from studying in Manitoba.
That bill was passed at the Legislature last November, lifting the cap on tuition fee hikes and giving individual institutions the ability to raise their own tuition fees up to five per cent each year.