On Campus

Lower tuition fees and accessibility

Report exposed Manitoba’s tuition freeze policy for what it really was

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett has written an epilogue on the Manitoba government’s recent decision to lift the tuition fee freeze in that province. Lett makes the following point about lower tuition fees and accessibility:

The tuition freeze has been wildly popular with students, of course, but it has been under constant attack from the schools, which claim it starves them of needed revenue. Earlier this month, the province released a report written by Ben Levin, a former deputy education minister, that pretty much exposed the tuition freeze policy for what it really is.

Levin noted there was no connection between lower tuition fees and accessibility, the NDP government’s chief motivation for maintaining the freeze. Levin recommended modest tuition increases for university and college students, the first in a decade.

Levin’s conclusions were hardly shocking

Two years ago, Ontario and Quebec completed exhaustive studies of the relationship between tuition fees and accessibility. The conclusion was that lower tuitions make education more affordable for those who could afford to go; for those who could not afford to go, lower tuitions did nothing.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.