Manitoba New Democrats say they would cap tuition increases to inflation

Leader Wab Kinew says the Manitoba New Democrats would help students by capping post-secondary tuition increases to no more than the rate of inflation.
Speaking across the street from the Red River College's Exchange District campus, NDP Leader Wab Kinew discusses his party's commitment to link tuition increases for post-secondary institutions to the rate of inflation. (Ian Froese/CBC)

Leader Wab Kinew says the Manitoba New Democrats would help students by capping post-secondary tuition increases to no more than the rate of inflation.

The promise was included in the party's campaign plan released earlier this month for the Sept. 10 election.

"We think that freezing it to inflation makes tuition affordable," Kinew said Friday morning, across the street from Red River College's Exchange District campus.

"It also preserves us enough resources so that we can make sure that when you do show up and get your degree, or your certification from a college, that it's going to be quality, that the one-on-one time you have with an instructor is going to be there for you."

Grant to offset lost revenue

Kinew said a NDP government would offer an additional $6-million grant annually to post-secondary institutions to offset the revenue lost from the tighter cap. 

Currently, universities and colleges are allowed to raise tuition by five per cent, plus the rate of inflation.

Tuition in Manitoba can currently be increased five per cent a year, including inflation. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Kinew is also promising that an NDP government would help students plan a career path by creating a report that would project what jobs businesses were looking to fill.

He also promises more work-integrated learning opportunities such as apprenticeships.

Kinew added that he would restore Pallister's "mean-spirited" $1 million cut to ACCESS bursaries, which helps rural, northern and Indigenous students.

Tuition increases in Manitoba were tied to inflation for a number of years until the Progressive Conservatives changed the legislation in 2017.

In response to the NDP's announcement, Steinbach PC candidate Kelvin Goertzen said Manitoba already has the lowest tuition in western Canada. He said his party has increased funding for the Manitoba Scholarship & Bursary initiative by $6.75 million while in government.

Meanwhile, the Liberals said neither party is spending enough money on the post-secondary sector.

"The NDP and PCs alike have cut and frozen core funding to colleges and universities across Manitoba and this is yet another status quo announcement from a party that fails to recognize that change is necessary," leader Dougald Lamont said in a statement.

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With files from the CBC's Ian Froese


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