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U of M announces tuition hike amid move to remote learning in the fall
University of Manitoba (file image)
WINNIPEG -- The University of Manitoba’s board of governors approved the school’s 2020-21 general operating budget on May 19, including a tuition hike.
According to a news release from university, the $674.6 million budget was created with a one per cent reduction from the provincial grant, coming out to $3.4 million. It said this is the “third consecutive similar reduction,” and to help address this reduction the budget includes a hike in tuition and course-related fees that will result in about $2.7 million of additional revenue.
The school noted that average increase will be 3.75 per cent for tuition and university-wide fees.
CTV Winnipeg previously reported the U of M will be shifting to remote learning this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
“The University has approved a plan to deliver all possible courses for the Fall Term by remote learning,” Janice Ristock, provost and vice-president (academic), said in a statement.
“In rare cases, and with approval, some courses may be delivered in person. In these very exceptional circumstances, we will identify the protocols that need to be in place to accommodate these few exceptions. Students will know this in advance so that they can make informed course selections.”
The university began this year’s budgetary process before the virus’ outbreak.
According to David Barnard, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, the school was fiscally constrained even before the pandemic, which presents challenges that change on a day-to-day basis.
“Thankfully, we have invested strategically over the years, and in this budget, to ensure our students receive excellent learning opportunities while we remain one of the most affordable and respected research universities in the country,” he said in a news release.
The proposed budget includes $600,000 for pandemic response, which focuses on remote learning and teaching. It has also budgeted $10 million as a contingency in order to deal with any financial uncertainties that come up in the next few months.
“Even though the University of Manitoba remains one of the most financially accessible options for post-secondary study in Canada, we know that cost is a barrier to many, even in the best of times,” said Ristock.
That is why we allocated an additional $600,000 in student aid, creating $16.6 million in bursaries and scholarships supporting undergraduate and graduate students, as well as specific supports for Indigenous and international students.”
The budget also includes $350,000 to finish the Sexual Violence Resource Centre; an additional $300,000 to support student counselling; $900,000 for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation; and $1 million for research initiatives.
THE UMSU SPEAKS
Students at the university are speaking out against the tuition hike.
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSI) said this is the third year in a row that school has raised its tuition, noting the province has also reduced operating grants to post-secondary institutions.
“No one’s thrilled and I think a lot of that frustration comes from students not seeing the value they’re going to get out of this tuition hike, because we are going to a remote online term and it’s difficult for students to understand how the quality of their education is actually going to get better and that money from a tuition hike is going to be used to influence them positively,” said Kristin Smith, vice president of advocacy for the UMSU.
The students’ union said it will be starting a petition to put an end to provincial cuts to post-secondary education.