Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba’s Board of Governors on Tuesday approved a proposal for a variable tuition and course fee changes which carry a 3.75% average increase to tuition rates. The UMSU President, UMSU Vice-President Advocacy, and the president of the U of M Graduate Students’ Association were united in describing their strong opposition to the fee hikes and voted against the proposal.
The latest decision represents the third year in a row that the U of M has raised its tuition rates since Manitoba’s government under Premier Brian Pallister repealed the province’s cap on tuition fees in 2017. At the same time the province has also reduced its operating grants to Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions year-on-year by tens of millions of dollars, including a $7.5 million reduction in grants for 2020-2021.
Said UMSU President, Jelynn Dela Cruz: “The ceiling on the University’s resources is being lowered once more and it must end here. Institutions should not feel pressured to increase the fees that hit their most vulnerable community members the hardest, in order to accommodate for provincial cuts and maintain a quality of learning that is competitive. Any cut to post-secondary education is a direct cut to the learning experience and future livelihood of students.”
Throughout the Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, student representatives voiced their concerns about the rising costs of acquiring post-secondary education at a time of heightened uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week the U of M announced that other than rare exceptions, all its course offerings will be held online for the Fall 2020 term.
Added UMSU Vice-President Advocacy, Kristin Smith: “Though this hike comes as a disappointment, we are focused on moving forward. UMSU is working to exempt students from fees that will no longer be applicable in a remote learning environment, and advocating to temporarily remove holds on student accounts to allow for course registration despite late payments. Students: please know that the UMSU hardship fund is always taking applications – now, in the fall, and for the foreseeable future.”
UMSU has pledged to establish a petition within the next few days demanding an end to the province’s cuts to post-secondary education, as well as meet with university administrators and community stakeholders to engage the provincial government on addressing critical priorities students have since the emergence of COVID-19.
For media inquiries, please contact:
UMSU President, Jelynn Dela Cruz – e. firstname.lastname@example.org
UMSU VP Advocacy, Kristin Smith – e. email@example.com