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1st Session, 40th Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 2

THE PROTECTING AFFORDABILITY FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ACT (COUNCIL ON POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT AMENDED)


Explanatory Note Bilingual version (PDF)

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. C235 amended

1           The Council on Post-Secondary Education Act is amended by this Act.

2           Clause 12(c) is amended by striking out "a university, college or institution that receives a grant under subsection 27.1(1)" and substituting "a university or college, or an institution that receives a grant under subsection 27.1(1),".

3(1)        Clause 18(1)(a) is amended by adding ", while having regard to the amounts expected to be available in the Fund" after "colleges".

3(2)        The following is added after subsection 18(1):

Funding plan to include forecast

18(1.1)     For the fiscal year that begins on April 1, 2014, and for each third fiscal year after that, the annual funding plan must include a forecast indicating the grants that the council proposes to make to universities for operating purposes in each of the following two fiscal years.

3(3)        Subsection 18(2) is amended by striking out "it prepares under clause (1)(b)".

4           The following is added after section 25 and before the centred heading that follows it:

PROTECTING AFFORDABILITY FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

Application

25.1        Sections 25.2 to 25.12 do not apply in respect of tuition fees and course-related fees charged by

(a) Université de Saint-Boniface, but only in respect of the college-level instruction it provides;

(b) University College of the North, but only in respect of the college-level instruction it provides; or

(c) the corporation established by The Mennonite College Federation Act.

Definitions

25.2        The following definitions apply in this section and sections 25.3 to 25.12.

"academic year" means the 12-month period beginning on September 1 and ending on August 31 of the following year. (« année universitaire »)

"course-related fee", in respect of a university, means

(a) a mandatory fee or charge that is payable to the university by students for materials and services that facilitate instruction in a program; and

(b) a fee or charge for materials or a service that is designated as a course-related fee under section 25.3. (« frais de cours »)

"professional degree program" means a program that is designated as a professional degree program by the council under clause 25.9(2)(a). (« programme de diplôme professionnel »)

"program" means a for-credit program of post-secondary education offered by a university and includes a credit course that is part of such a program. (« programme »)

"provides", in respect of materials or a service, includes authorizing or permitting the use of the materials or service. (« fournir »)

"tuition fee", in respect of a university, means

(a) a fee set by the university's board of governors, board of regents or governing council as the tuition fee or fee for instruction in a program, excluding

(i) courses provided under a third party contract, and

(ii) any differential or surcharge in fees set for courses taken by individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada; and

(b) a course-related fee that the council designates as a tuition fee under subsection 25.5(1). (« frais de scolarité »)

Course-Related Fees

Designation of course-related fees

25.3        The council may designate a fee or charge for materials or a service that a university requires a student to pay as a result of the student attending the university or being enrolled in a program as a course-related fee.

Council review of increases in course-related fees

25.4(1)     If a university increases a course-related fee for material or a service that it provides to a student, the council may request the university to demonstrate, to the council's satisfaction, that the increase reasonably reflects the university's increased costs in providing the material or service.

University to provide information

25.4(2)     A university that receives a request under subsection (1) must give the council any information that the council requests in respect of the university's costs in providing the material or service.

Action by council

25.4(3)     If the council is not satisfied that a university's increase in the course-related fee reasonably reflects the university's increased costs, the council may issue a directive to the university

(a) to refund some or all of the increased amount to each student who paid it; and

(b) to stop charging or accepting payment of some or all of the increase.

Compliance

25.4(4)     A university must comply with the directive.

University Tuition Fees

Designation of course-related fees as tuition fees

25.5(1)     The council may designate a course-related fee, including a fee or charge designated as a course-related fee under section 25.3, as a tuition fee.

Determining initial amount for calculation

25.5(2)     For the purpose of the calculation in subsection 25.7(1), when the council initially designates a course-related fee to be a tuition fee, it must

(a) determine what the course-related fee was in the preceding academic year; and

(b) give the applicable university written notice of the determination.

Tuition fee to be determined by May 31

25.6(1)     A university must determine its tuition fees for an academic year by May 31 of the calendar year in which the academic year begins.

Increases after May 31

25.6(2)     A tuition fee increase that is approved by a university within three months before the beginning of an academic year must not take effect until the next academic year.

Conflict with other Acts

25.6(3)     If there is a conflict between this section and a provision of an Act that establishes or continues a university, this section prevails to the extent of the conflict.

Permitted increase in tuition fees

25.7(1)     The increase in a tuition fee permitted for a university for an academic year is the tuition fee for the preceding academic year multiplied by the percentage change, as determined by the following formula, rounded to one decimal place:

% change = 100 × (A − B)/B

In this formula,

A   is the average of the 12 monthly consumer price indexes for the 12-month period ending on March 31 of the calendar year in which the academic year for which the tuition fee increase is being calculated begins;

B   is the average of the 12 monthly consumer price indexes for the 12-month period ending on March 31 of the preceding calendar year.

For this purpose, the monthly consumer price index is the monthly consumer price index for Manitoba (All-items), as published by Statistics Canada under the authority of the Statistics Act (Canada).

Council to offset excessive tuition increases

25.7(2)     If satisfied that a university has increased or will increase a tuition fee for an academic year by more than the permitted increase, the council must

(a) determine the amount by which the increase in the tuition fee charged exceeds the permitted increase; and

(b) deduct that amount from the grants it would otherwise make to the university during that academic year.

Timing and notice of determination

25.7(3)     A determination made by the council under subsection (2) must be

(a) made at least two months before the start of the academic year to which the decision relates; and

(b) communicated to the applicable university in writing.

Deduction required to be made

25.7(4)     This section applies despite any other provision of this Act or any provision of an agreement entered into by the council and a university.

Professional Degree Programs

Policy for designating professional degree programs

25.8(1)     The council must, in consultation with the universities, develop a policy respecting the designation of programs as professional degree programs.

Content of policy

25.8(2)     The policy must identify

(a) the characteristics of a professional degree program;

(b) the actions that must be taken and the procedures that must be followed by a university before it applies to have a program designated as a professional degree program; and

(c) the information that a university must provide to the council when making an application to have a program designated.

The policy may contain other provisions as determined by the council.

Applying to have a program designated as a professional degree program

25.9(1)     If a university has taken the actions and followed the procedures set out in the policy, it may apply to the council to have a program designated as a professional degree program.

Determination of council

25.9(2)     On receiving an application, the council may

(a) designate the program as a professional degree program if satisfied that the program is suitable to be designated as a professional degree program under the policy; or

(b) deny the application.

Applying for increases above permitted increase

25.10(1)    A university may apply to the council to have a professional degree program exempted from the application of section 25.7 (permitted increase in tuition fees).

Application

25.10(2)    When applying for an exemption, the university must

(a) specify the increase in the tuition fees that the university proposes to implement for the professional degree program, and the academic years in which it proposes to implement those increases; and

(b) include any information that the council requests in respect of the application.

Applications may be combined

25.10(3)    An application under subsection (1) may be made in conjunction with an application to have a program designated as a professional degree program.

Assessing applications for tuition increases

25.11(1)    On receiving an application under section 25.10 in respect of a program that is designated as a professional degree program, the council must assess the application by considering the following:

(a) whether the degree the program leads to is an entry-to-practice requirement for a profession;

(b) if higher tuition fees would deter students, including students from underrepresented groups, from enrolling in the program;

(c) in respect of a program that leads to employment in a high-demand occupation, if higher tuition fees would reduce the number of entrants and the resulting number of graduates;

(d) the total cost of the program if higher tuition fees are implemented, including the course-related fees and any other fees that students pay as a result of being enrolled in the program, and the reasonableness of any resulting increased debt burden graduates may experience;

(e) if the program is one with a high graduation rate and one where the average income earned by graduates shortly after completing the program is sufficient to pay any increased debt burden graduates may experience;

(f) if changes in market conditions and other relevant factors are increasing the university's costs in providing the program, and if the rate of the increase is higher relative to the other programs that the university provides;

(g) how the university proposes to use the additional revenues generated by higher tuition fees, and if the additional revenues are to be used to address the higher costs identified in clause (f);

(h) if students currently enrolled in the program support paying the higher tuition fees;

(i) any other factor or matter that the minister directs the council to consider.

Recommendation of council

25.11(2)    After assessing an application, the council must make recommendations to the minister, with reasons,

(a) respecting whether the program ought to be exempted from the application of section 25.7 (permitted increase in tuition fees); and

(b) if so, the increases in the tuition fees that the university should be permitted to implement.

Minister to review report

25.12(1)    If the minister, after considering the council's recommendations, is satisfied that the proposed increase in tuition

(a) will not unreasonably affect the affordability and accessibility of the program; and

(b) is not contrary to the public interest;

the minister is to recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that the program be exempted from section 25.7.

LG in C may make order

25.12(2)    The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the minister and on such terms and conditions as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate, order that a program be exempted from section 25.7 (permitted increase in tuition fees). The order must state the academic years in which the exemption applies.

Transitional: previously scheduled increase

5           Section 25.7 of The Council on Post-Secondary Education Act, as enacted by section 4 of this Act, does not apply to the increase in tuition fees for the University of Manitoba's Master of Business Administration program that is effective for the 2012–2013 academic year.

Coming into force

6           This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Explanatory Note

Under this Bill, the Council on Post-Secondary Education is required to include in its annual funding plan for the 2014-2015 fiscal year a forecast of the operating funds that will be provided to universities in each of the following two fiscal years. The Council must provide similar forecasts every third fiscal year after that.

The Council is given the power to review whether a university's increase in a course-related fee reflects the associated costs incurred by the university. If the increase does not, the Council may require the university to stop charging the increased fee and pay refunds to students who have already paid it.

If a university increases tuition fees by more than the increase in the rate of inflation, the Council is required to deduct from the grants it makes to the university the amount by which the increase exceeds the rate of inflation.

On application of a university, the Council may designate a program as a professional degree program and the Lieutenant Governor in Council may order that such a program is exempt from the limits on increases in tuition fees.