U of Winnipeg raises tuition 3.7% on average for 2019-20

Students at the University of Winnipeg will pay an average of $120 more for tuition in the 2019-20 school year over the 2018-19 year.

Money will go toward enhancing student services, university says

Tuition at the University of Winnipeg will increase by about $120 a year for the average student. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Students at the University of Winnipeg will pay an average of $120 more for tuition in the 2019-20 school year over the 2018-19 year.

The university's board of regents approved the tuition increase on Monday as part of its $144-million 2019-2020 budget.

Tuition will increase by 3.7 per cent for most programs, the university said in a news release. For undergraduate students taking a full course load, the increase will be $168 per year.

The increase comes after the provincial government cut its operating grant to the university by one per cent for the current year, on top of a 0.9 per cent cut the previous year.

Mahlet Cuff, vice-president of external affairs for the University of Winnipeg Students' Association, said the increase will make it harder for students to access education.

"I think increasing tuition will definitely create barriers for marginalized people within universities, like Indigenous students and international students and students with disabilities," she said.

"They won't be able to access university in the first place and have access to resources."

She said the $168 figure might seem small, but it will make a difference for students who are already feeling financial strain.

She said she'd like to see the province boost funding to the school so students aren't paying more out of pocket.

"If it's possible for the government to fund the university more, the U of W wouldn't have to make these kinds of cuts," she said.

In 2017, the Progressive Conservative government introduced legislation ending a rule that capped tuition increases at the rate of inflation.

The legislation, allowing for tuition hikes of up to five per cent plus the rate of inflation annually, came into effect starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

Last year, the University of Winnipeg hiked tuition by 6.6 per cent.

The university says the money from increased tuition will go toward improving student services and supports. Students in financial need will have access to an additional $50,000 in bursaries.

The university will also hire two new academic advisers to help students at risk of leaving the university early, enhance services for international students, improve campus security and fund Indigenous cultural events, community outreach and language programs.