Wakeham urges Premier to halt MUN tuition hike during AG Review

Wakeham urges Premier to halt MUN tuition hike during AG Review

Tony Wakeham says Premier Andrew Furey should halt any further tuition hikes at Memorial University.

St. John’s, N.L. (April 26, 2023)

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Tony Wakeham (MHA for Stephenville-Port au Port) says Premier Andrew Furey – who is now promising to revisit MUN funding – should halt any further tuition hikes at Memorial University pending the review of the Auditor General – something the Premier has the power to do.


In Budget 2021, the Furey government announced their plan to eliminate the tuition offset over five years starting in 2022. Their decision followed a report the Premier commissioned from Moya Greene, which called for a 30 per cent cut to Memorial’s operating grant over six years.  However, under strong opposition, the government on April 4, 2022, commissioned the Auditor General to undertake a full and comprehensive review of Memorial’s operations and spending.


Wakeham said, “If the Premier really wants students to believe he is listening, and if he is truly committed to the Auditor General’s review, then he will put the brakes on any further tuition increase, wait for Auditor General’s report and use it to inform future funding levels to ensure post-secondary education is affordable.”


“A rational government would understand that making a university education unaffordable only undermines the future of our province. We need a highly educated, highly skilled workforce to grow our economy locally and compete globally. We need to see our university growing and driving growth and innovation throughout our province, not shrinking because the barriers to entry are too high,” said Wakeham.


The previous PC government froze tuition throughout its 12-year tenure – by directing the university to implement the freeze, and providing the funding to pay for it. Only after the Liberals returned to government did tuition start increasing again. The Liberals also increased autonomy to Memorial to offload the blame for the tuition hikes on the university.


Wakeham said, “The right leader will see our university and its students for their potential to grow and sustain prosperity in Newfoundland and Labrador, not as a cost burden to be reduced.  I stand with students, and urge the Premier to put his money where his mouth is by freezing any further tuition hikes while this far-reaching independent review is underway.”