University of Manitoba passes 2020-21 budget, includes tuition hike

The University of Manitoba has approved its $674.6-million 2020-21 general operating budget, which includes an average 3.75 per cent hike to tuition fees, and a 3.75 increase to university-wide fees.

The university says the increases are expected to bring in an additional $2.7 million in revenue which will help offset an anticipated five per cent reduction in provincial grant money.

A one per cent reduction in provincial funding had been expected, and is the third consecutive year of such cuts. The additional four per cent, however — or approximately $14 million according to the university — is a one-time reduction as the province tries to tighten its belt amid the pandemic.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university was operating in a fiscally constrained environment, and the current context continues to present challenges that change on a near-daily basis,” said president and vice-chancellor Dr. David Barnard in a press release.

“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.”

Most students, including those in Arts and Science, will end up paying approximately $250 more per year for a full course load with the tuition increase, according to the university.

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Even given the unprecedented circumstances, the move isn’t sitting well with the University of Manitoba Students’ Union, according to president Jelynn Dela Cruz, who says she and other executives voted against the plan.

“It is absurd that at this time, amidst all the trauma that students are experiencing, there is a proposed increase,” Dela Cruz says, adding the jump will actually be much higher for other faculties, such as medicine.

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