The Manitoba Liberals want to increase access to post-secondary education, leader Dougald Lamont announced Sunday.
Lamont’s Zero Barrier Plan would put $5 million more into access funding for post-secondary institutions in the first year.
“Education is one of the great levelers. We want to make sure that Manitobans can fulfill their potential no matter their background, no matter where they live in the province,” Lamont said in a statement. “Our goal is access to education for all, with zero barriers.”
The province cut funding from the $11.3 million program in 2017-2018 to $10.3 million in 2018-2019.
The Liberals also say they would also restore $12 million in annual funding to universities and colleges — support for post-secondary institutions was cut by 0.9 per cent or $6.3 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year and there were minimal funding increases in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
They would also ensure future increases match inflation rates, which the Liberals said would give students the certainty that tuition would freeze at inflation rates.
The plan also includes an overhaul of the eligibility requirements for Manitoba Student Aid, a goal of working with trade institutions to broaden access — with a focus on women — as well as an increase in access and recruitment for women into science, technology, engineering and math.
The Liberals say they would also train counsellors to provide psychological services to students.
The Manitoba NDP made a similar campaign promise on Friday surrounding post secondary education.
“We’re glad we convinced the Liberals to match the commitment we made last week to freeze tuition to inflation and restore the ACCESS bursary,” wrote a party spokesperson in an email to Global News.
The PC responded by pointing out heir “well-established record” of promoting access to post-secondary studies.
“Upon coming into office in 2016, the PC government increased funding for the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative to $6.75 million, the highest level of support ever for scholarships and bursaries in Manitoba history,” explained a party spokesperson.
Manitobans will choose their government on September 10th.
WATCH: Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont on 680 CJOB