Students in professional faculties, who were dreading a massive increase to their tuition fees this fall, can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Advanced Education and Literacy Minister, Diane McGifford, declined 10 out of 12 requests made by university professional faculties to increase tuition fees beyond the five per cent previously approved by the provincial government.
The faculties that will be receiving certain tuition fee increases are the Faculty of Dentistry and I.H. Asper School of Business.
The dental students will receive a 20 per cent increase in tuition fees per year for the next two years, with 15 per cent of revenue generated from the fees going towards student bursaries.
Dean of Dentistry, Tony Iacopino, said he was very happy the proposal his faculty put forth was approved and that it would have a huge impact on the quality of education in the faculty of Dentistry.
“We can train our students for today and tomorrow, instead of yesterday on outdated equipment and outdated technology.”
He stated that a significant amount of the money would be put into student services and bursaries for students to offset some of the impact the increase will have on those in financial need, with a fund set up specifically for students already enrolled and working towards completing their degree.
Money will also be put towards updating the faculty’s student lounge.
While the Asper School of Business did not receive the full 88 per cent increase over three years to undergraduate tuition fees it had requested, it will be allowed to increase fees in the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program by 25 per cent annually over two years, starting in 2011.
“I feel that on the MBA side, we’re moving in a an appropriate direction, but in terms of undergraduate tuition, it is going to be very important in the future that we do start to bridge the gap between ourselves and other business schools,” said Glenn Feltham, dean of the business school.
“I think that there was good and bad with the decisions, but ultimately tuition levels are going to have to be at the level of other leading business schools if we’re going to be able to provide the level of education that Manitoba requires.”
Asper student and former Commerce Students’ Association (CSA) president Mike Gould told the Manitoban that he would still find his education accessible if Asper had received approval for its request to increase undergraduate tuition, although that may not the case for all students in the faculty.
“It would have been imperative for the dean’s office to address accessibility for both current and future students,” said Gould.
However, he felt that the dean’s office did a good job of gathering as much information from students as possible in a short amount of time.
“I think the dean’s office realized through gathering this information just how much of a priority accessibility is for students, especially international students.”