Student groups in Manitoba and Ontario found themselves praising their provincial governments last month.
In Manitoba, post-secondary students were ecstatic the provincial NDP government is continuing the tuition freeze for another year.
In his budget released in April, Finance Minister Greg Selinger announced that the freeze and a 10 per cent rebate in tuition would be continued for the fifth straight year.
Across the border in Ontario, students were applauding the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty for honouring an election promise to freeze tuition.
"The tuition freeze announcement is an unprecedented step forward for Ontario students and their families," said Joel Duff, Ontario chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "For the first time, the vast majority of students in Canada will not be facing a tuition fee increase in September 2004."
A tuition freeze is the best form of student financial assistance, Duff said, "because it applies to everyone."
Duff noted that almost one-third of the tuition fee increases are used to fund local financial aid packages for students who can't afford tuition increases in the first place. With tuition fees frozen, there will be less strain on student financial assistance and more student aid dollars will go directly toward students' living expenses.
The Ontario government also announced $50 million in additional funding to colleges and universities to offset the first year of the freeze.
"That funding means that aggregate tuition fee revenue that did contribute to the operating budgets of colleges and universities will be fully replaced by public funds," Duff said.