Frosty, but no freeze yet

Looks like the NDP aren’t the only political party thinking about a tuition freeze.

Both the NDP and the PCs, the two main contenders in the upcoming provincial election, are keen to tie increases in university tuition to the rate of inflation.

The tuition freeze was instituted by the NDPgovernment in 1999, and was subsequently lifted in 2009 when the NDP allowed a 4.5 per cent increase in tuition fees at universities.

In an announcement made on Sept. 7, the NDPdeclared that if the party returned to government, it would pass a law freezing university tuition fee increases at the rate of inflation while also expanding the eligibility for student aid in order to make education more affordable.

According to Greg Selinger, leader of the NDP, focusing on education will lead to prosperity in Manitoba.

“Everyone knows good jobs begin with good education,” Selinger said. “By focusing on excellent universities and affordable tuition, we will prepare even more people for well-paying jobs.”

The NDP also pledged to make improvements to the Manitoba Student Aid program by expanding the eligibility. Among their proposals, they want to allow students to earn more income during the school year and own vehicles without negatively impacting their student aid eligibility. They also propose reducing the interest rate on student loans to the prime borrowing rate.

The PCs make a similar announcement in their economic policy paper, entitled Growing Communities, McFadyen Economic Strategy. Among some of the proposals in the paper, the Tories pledge to “support tuition increases at inflation to protect the quality of (Manitoba’s) post-secondary education.”

The PCs argue that gradual increases to fees will safeguard students from being hit with huge tuition hikes.

Regardless of whether NDP or the PCs win, university students can expect the same outcome when it comes to their tuition.


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