Government Balances Student Affordability With the Needs of Universities:  McGifford 

Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford today announced 10 out of 12 requests made by university professional faculties to increase tuition fees beyond the five per cent already approved by government have been declined. 

The Honourable Diane McGifford

“We have worked hard to strike the appropriate balance between education affordability for students and the financial needs of some faculties,” said McGifford.  “We believe this announcement will now allow students and institutions to plan appropriately for the upcoming year.” 

Earlier this spring, the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg submitted 12 requests to increase fees in professional faculties to the Council on Post Secondary Education (COPSE). 

The minister accepted eight recommendations from COPSE to turn down the tuition fee requests. 

An additional four requests were passed onto the Department of Advanced Education and Literacy for further review including increases in tuition fees in the department of dental hygiene, the schools of medicine and dentistry as well as the master of business administration program. 

Following a review, the following decisions were made by the minister:           

– To decline a request of 20 per cent per year for the next two years in the dental hygiene diploma program because the requested increase was not in line with future income expected to be generated by graduates. 

– To decline a request of nearly 73 per cent over three years for first-year students in the University of Manitoba’s school of medicine to ensure that recruitment of additional doctors is not compromised.  The province has instead announced a new $1-million initiative to increase the supply of family doctors throughout Manitoba. 

– To accept a 20-per-cent increase in tuition fees for dental students per year for the next two years, with 15 per cent of the revenue generated from the increase to be invested in student bursaries. 

– To allow an annual 25-per-cent increase in tuition fees over two years in the master of business administration program starting in 2011.  The increase will not apply to students currently enrolled in the program and 25 per cent of the revenue generated from the increases will be invested in bursaries.  The university had requested a higher increase of 88 per cent over three years. 

Since 1999, operating grant increases to universities combined with property-tax savings have resulted in a $157 million or 73-per-cent increase in available operating funds for the institutions.  The minister said she is committed to continuing working with all institutions to ensure education quality is preserved and enhanced. 

“Our government is committed to ensuring that student success is based upon their ability and their passion to succeed, not on their ability to pay,” said McGifford.  “The decisions made by COPSE and our government stay true to this fundamental principle.”