Students are eligible for a 10 per cent rebate on Trades and Transportation courses

By Brett Kelly

RRC is offering a 10 per cent rebate for many courses offered by the School of Continuing Education to help boost enrolment numbers.

Red River College Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology Centre. /BRETT KELLY

The Trades and Transportations courses, among several other programs, at Red River College have seen a decline in student enrollment over the past several years, according to Jared Miskimmin, manager of admissions and operations at the School of Continuing Education.

The cost of a college education is a barrier for many prospective students.

Jag Sandhu, 27, is in an Automotive Technician program and says the combined cost of course fees and supplies has been very stressful for him.

Changes to the Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate and Advance had many students and recent graduates concerned about their future after graduation.

“I would definitely put that [extra money] on my Visa,” said Sandhu.

StatsCan reported in 2010, the average college student owed nearly $15,000 by graduation day. That amount has been steadily increasing and could reach as high as $20,000 based on national trends.

Automotive technology students unwind between classes at Red River College’s Notre Dame campus. /BRETT KELLY

Cyrus Hamboeton, Sandhu’s classmate, says he would gladly take advantage of any money-saving opportunity.

“Who would say no to extra money?” Hamboeton said.

While Manitoba’s college tuition fees remain the second lowest in the country, the tuition hike freeze imposed by the previous NDP government has ended. Students may see tuition rates increase in coming years.

Increasing student enrollment in the School for Continuing Education impacts all of RRC. All profits go directly to the bottom line of the college.

Vaughan Gicana, 22, studies for an upcoming test at Red River College Exchange Campus./BRETT KELLY

An immediate rebate could be part of a larger solution to barriers many prospective students face when considering taking courses through the School of Continuing Education. Miskimmin and his team are looking at other potential solutions.

“We thought about doing a survey of some kind to see if [the students] could help identify why registration was down,” he said. Miskimmin added they will be improving marketing initiatives based on these surveys.

Students are still eligible to take advantage of non-refundable tax credits through Canada Revenue Agency and numerous scholarships and bursaries. ScholarshipsCanada provides over 100,000 scholarships every year worth over $200 million.