Many graduate students at the University of Manitoba are frustrated after learning the school wants to hike their fees.

Grad students pay a program fee in their first year plus a yearly “continuing fee” every year after that.

Right now, the continuing fee is $700 per year, but the Faculty of Graduate Studies wants to increase that incrementally to $3,000 a year by 2016 — an increase of nearly 330 per cent.

Paul Turner is pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology from the U of M.

The father of two already works full time to avoid student debt and said he was shocked to learn his grad fees may be going up.

“I was floored.” He said. ”How do you afford this? How do you fit this into your budget?”

Dean Jay Doering said the money from the increase will go toward grad student support.

He said the U of M is far behind other schools when it comes to offering students financial support.

Doering said out of the U15, a group of research intensive universities, the U of M has the least amount of financial support for grad students.

“The vast majority of students we make offers to come to our university,” he said. “However, out of those that reject our offer, approximately half tell us they rejected our offer because they got more competitive offers elsewhere.”

Doering added of the U15, the U of M is the cheapest in the country to get a master’s and the second cheapest to get a PhD.

Doering said the increase won’t change anything on that front.

The University of Manitoba Graduate Student's Association (UMGSA) said a majority of students surveyed said they're concerned about the hike.

Laura Rempel, President of the UMGSA, said any increase students haven’t budgeted for can cause a significant amount of stress.

This year, the U of M said it costs more than $11.8 million to cover those costs, but students’ fees only comprised $1.34 million of that. 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly said the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Graduate Studies wants to increase students' continuing fees by nearly 430 per cent. In fact, the increase would be close to 330 per cent.
    May 12, 2014 10:12 PM CT