MANITOBA may introduce a new post-secondary tuition policy that involves differentiated fees between faculties as early as 2023-24.
Starting today, the Department of Higher Education is hosting forums on the future of college and university fees. Institutional officials and student groups were invited to speak.
“Consultations will focus on things like affordability and accessibility for students, financial stability of institutions and high-quality programs,” a provincial spokesperson said.
The meetings, which the province has promised as part of Bill 33 (Higher Education Administration Act), are part of the initial consultations.
Bill 33 was passed late last year, despite opposition from student and faculty unions who say it is a power grab that undermines autonomy of the school and threatens to eliminate the student union fees decided in the referendums on the campuses.
The new law grants the Minister the power to issue and regulate tuition and tuition fees, including the ability to limit increases, require decreases, and prohibit compulsory fees. A facility’s provincial funding may be reduced by the amount it charges above the guidelines prescribed by the Minister.
The Canadian Federation of Students is concerned that the law will result in different courses and make certain subjects inaccessible, said Alexandra Koslock, president of the Manitoba chapter.
Koslock said the policy sets up “the corporatization of colleges and universities” by laying the groundwork for institutions and programs to be rewarded for aligning with private industry when there is little oversight of faculty. or students.
“It’s unclear at this time what the impact of these (new fee policies) will be,” she said, noting that “differentiated tuition fees” are among the main themes the province wants to discuss.
While CFS MB supports the status quo, the student leader said she was grateful to be included in the consultations and eager to hear more about the province’s policy ideas.
The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations — which represents academics at the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Brandon University and Université de Saint-Boniface — did not receive a invitation.
“Failure to consult with faculty suggests that your government does not appreciate our contributions to the social and economic well-being of our province,” MOFA President Scott Forbes wrote in a letter to the Minister of Education on Tuesday. Higher Education, Jon Reyes.
During an interview, Forbes said MOFA was told the faculty consultations would violate Fort Whyte by-election laws — a response he called confusing, given that meetings have taken place. been scheduled with other stakeholders.
MOFA has been highly critical of differential tuition fees, citing research from other jurisdictions that suggests differential fees lead to an overall drop in enrollment rather than an increase in the programs politicians want to expand.
“The real goal, if you look at the big picture, where it’s been done – in most of the United States, Western Europe and Australia – is to reduce public funding … for public education,” said Forbes.
Last month, the University of Manitoba solicited community input ahead of upcoming consultations. Its notice states that the department has informed the U of M that its input will be used to inform the development of a new tuition policy, and any future framework will not come into effect until the year university 2023-24.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press educational journalist comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.
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