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Postsecondary education in Manitoba is delivered primarily through five public universities, including a French-language university and one university college; two English-language colleges; a French-language college, and a technical institute. There are also four religious denominational postsecondary institutions.

The University of Manitoba, the province's largest degree-granting institution, has four affiliated colleges — St. Andrew's College, St. John's College, St. Paul's College, and Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) (formerly Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface). The province's French-language college — École technique et professionnelle — is operated under the same administrative structures as USB.

In 1998, the province of Manitoba passed legislation (the Mennonite Colleges Federation Act) to create a new university (Canadian Mennonite University [CMU]). The university began operations in September 1999 and is a federation of three existing Bible colleges -- Concord College, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC), and Menno Simons College. Concord and CMBC have ceased to exist as entities, while Menno Simons College continues as a federated college of CMU.

Menno Simons College (MSC) maintains an affiliation agreement with the University of Winnipeg (UW). Located in proximity to each other, UW and MSC offer joint courses.

Most of the province's postsecondary institutions are situated in the provincial capital of Winnipeg. This includes: the University of Manitoba and its affiliates, including USB; the University of Winnipeg; Red River College; Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT); and École technique et professionnelle. Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, and University College of the North also offer select programs in Winnipeg, mainly focused on education in health professions. Canadian Mennonite University and Menno Simons College; and the Salvation Army's private degree-granting institution, Booth University College are each located in Winnipeg. Red River College operates five regional campuses in the Interlake, Portage-la-Prairie, Steinbach, and Winkler communities. Through the Eastman Education Centre in Steinbach, several institutions offer a variety of courses. Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) operates three Winnipeg campuses as well as a network of six adult learning centres. Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College are located in the southwestern Manitoba community of Brandon. Assiniboine operates a satellite campus in Dauphin and regional centres in Russell, Neepawa and Swan River. University College of the North [UCN] is located in the northern communities of The Pas and Thompson, and also operates regional centres in 12 communities across northern Manitoba: including Churchill, Flin Flon and Swan River (public access centres), as well as in nine First Nations reserve communities. UCN offers college and university-level programming. Two other degree-granting institutions — Providence University College and Steinbach Bible College — are located in Otterburne and Steinbach respectively. Both these colleges are private religious colleges.

Postsecondary education in Manitoba is the responsibility the Minister of Education and Advanced Learning. The Department of Education and Advanced Learning is responsible for approving new programs, facilities, and services and for allocating funds to the universities, university college and colleges. While the four religious denominational institutions do receive an annual grant in support of their operations, programming offered by these institutions is not typically subject to program approval given the denominational/theological content of their curricula.

Postsecondary education in Manitoba traces its history to a number of religious denominational colleges founded in the nineteenth century, beginning in 1818. In 1877, three of these colleges — Saint Boniface, St. John's, and Manitoba College — were brought together by government as constituent parts of the University of Manitoba. The colleges continued to offer instruction, whilst the examinations for degrees, and the granting of degrees was performed by the University of Manitoba. In 1900, an Act of the provincial legislature changed the university's statute to permit it to offer instruction also.

Brandon University and the University of Winnipeg also trace their histories to religious denominational institutions -- the former founded in 1898, the latter in 1877.

Manitoba's community college system grew out of three vocational institutions — the Brandon Vocational Training Centre, the Northern Manitoba Training Centre, and the Manitoba Institute of Technology. Respectively, these became Assiniboine, Keewatin, and Red River Community Colleges. Along with École technique et professionnelle, the three English-language colleges provide vocational and technical training across the province. In 1998, Red River Community College changed its name to Red River College. In July 2004, University College of the North assumed the operations of Keewatin Community College, while also receiving a broader mandate for university education in northern Manitoba. In 2011, Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface became the Université de Saint-Boniface (USB). In 2014, the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (formerly a public regional vocational school known as Winnipeg Technical College) was established as a separate institution through passage of the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology Act.

Programs and credentials offered by degree-granting institutions

The University of Manitoba offers a broad range of undergraduate (bachelor), graduate (master and doctoral), and professional degree programs in more than 90 disciplines. These include: agriculture, architecture, environmental studies, the arts and sciences, commerce, education, engineering, fine arts, human ecology, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and social work.

The University of Winnipeg, Brandon University, and Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) maintain a strong focus on undergraduate education, while offering limited numbers of master level programs in specialized areas.

University College of the North offers a variety of certificate, diploma, and undergraduate degree programs. In terms of university-level offerings, UCN currently offers a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Midwifery, and Joint Bachelor of Nursing (with the University of Manitoba) programs.

In addition to degree programs, the universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Brandon, and the Université de Saint-Boniface (USB)offer a variety of credit and non-credit (continuing education) diploma and certificate programs The time required to complete certificate and diploma programs varies from program to program. University calendars are the best sources of information about specific program requirements.

Booth University College offers a suite of undergraduate degree programs. All BUC programs are considered religious denominational programs, even though they include such study areas as arts, business administration, and social work. The Prairie Theatre Exchange offers courses in drama and theatre arts which are received for credit at a university level. In addition to its public programming, the University of Winnipeg and St. John's College at the University of Manitoba also offers courses in theology and divinity through a theological consortium that includes several institutions across Manitoba.

With respect to distance education, all public postsecondary institutions offer options for students living outside of campus communities. In addition to these distance offerings, the four public degree-granting universities (University of Brandon, University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba and the University College of the North) cooperate through Inter-Universities Services, a distance education program that brings university courses to Manitoba communities north of the 53rd parallel. As well, college and undergraduate university study by distance education is provided through Campus Manitoba, a consortium comprised of all public postsecondary institutions in Manitoba.

Programs and credentials offered by colleges and institutes

Manitoba's two English-language colleges — Assiniboine Community College and Red River College — offer a broad range of certificate and diploma programs, as well as apprenticeship, adult basic education, and a variety of professional and technical courses. These programs are also offered through University College of the North. Certificate and diploma programs are offered in a variety of subjects including communications, engineering, business administration, dental assisting, computer programming, practical nursing, electronics and other technologies, natural resources management, motor vehicle mechanics, tourism, agribusiness, and early childhood education, to name but a few.

Red River College, the largest of the above institutions, offers the widest selection of advanced diploma, diploma, and certificate programs. Under degree-granting authorities approved for college institutions in 2009, Red River College now offers two baccalaureate degrees with applied focus in construction management and in nursing (leading to eligibility for practice as a Registered Nurse). Assiniboine Community College is also authorized to grant degrees but has not introduced any degree programs at current time.

The Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) offers a unique hybrid learning environment by providing technical career education opportunities to both high school students as well as postsecondary learners. MITT is authorized (under provisions of The Public Schools Act of Manitoba) to offer courses towards fulfillment of provincial high school graduation requirements, as well as a variety of adult postsecondary programs leading to the granting of certificates and diplomas.

In terms of postsecondary programs, certificates and diplomas are offered in such areas as: business administration assistant; culinary arts and design; carpentry; hairstyling; hotel and hospitality services; international business; medical administrative assistant; pharmacy technician; production art; rehabilitation aide; and technical drafting.

École technique et professionnelle offers certificate, diploma and advanced diploma programs in the French language, primarily in the areas of business administration, computer programming/web development, administrative/office support, and early childhood education.

Some integrated programs are provided jointly between colleges and universities. For example, the University of Winnipeg and Red River College offer a four-year program leading to a college diploma and a bachelor of arts (in communications) or bachelor of science (in biology, chemistry, or environmental sciences) from the university. The college has similar arrangements with both the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg for teacher education programs that offer specialization in business education and industrial arts. . Under a Memorandum of Understanding concluded between Assiniboine Community College and Brandon University in 2008, a variety of joint programs, credit transfer options and laddering/bridging opportunities have been made available between both institutions. MITT has also developed a series of joint programs with University of Winnipeg and University College of the North.

Programs and credentials offered by the International College of Manitoba (ICM)

Established in September 2008, ICM is a private institution that serves as a pathway for first year undergraduate international students who seek admission to degree programs at the University of Manitoba (UM). ICM recruits international students to choose UM as a study destination and provides University transfer programs, a combination of first and second year undergraduate courses, exclusively to these international students. Normally, students intend to seek full admission at the UM after completing their required first year courses.

There are no substantive differences between ICM courses and UM courses: the prescribed curriculum and course requirements are the same. ICM students do, however, receive ICM supports (including tutoring, cultural awareness and participation in an organized peer community) as an integrated part of their Year 1 program. For entry to UM upon completion of ICM courses, every ICM graduate must meet regular admission requirements established by the UM.

ICM students receive a completion certificate and transfer credits for all UM equivalent university courses.

Programs and credentials offered by Private Vocational Institutions

Credentials offered by Private Vocational Institutions (that currently operate under the Private Vocational Institute Act in Manitoba) are limited to one and two year certificates and diplomas in entry level vocational programming.

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is one of the longest-established methods of skill development and training. In Manitoba's apprenticeship training and certification model, an employer and an employee enter into a formal training agreement in which they agree to participate in a structured, accredited, workplace-based and technical skills training program that ultimately leads to journeyperson certification for the apprentice employee.

Through apprenticeship training, employees acquire relevant skills and knowledge while earning a wage, and employers gain highly skilled employees.

It is an industry-driven training system. The Apprenticeship and Certification Act establishes an Apprenticeship and Certification Board (the Board). The 13-member Board is appointed by the Minister of Jobs and the Economy to represent the interests of employees, employers and the public. The Board designates trades for apprenticeship training and trades certification. For each designated trade, the Board establishes the training and journeyperson certification standards, and-with the approval of the Minister-establishes the regulatory framework through which training and certification programs are delivered.

The Board appoints industry representatives to Provincial Advisory Committees (PACs) to provide trade-specific advice on training and certification standards, and regulation content.

Apprenticeship Manitoba (“the Branch”) coordinates and facilitates the Board's regulation and program standard setting and provides other technical, administrative and financial support to the Board and the PACs.

Operationally, the Branch administers and monitors apprentice training delivered under apprenticeship agreements and administers certification examinations. Branch staff also oversees the network of training support programs, accreditation of technical training programs, community-based training partnerships with rural, northern and Aboriginal communities, essential skills assessment and upgrading, prior learning assessment and recognition programs, certification examination preparation workshops, and the communication and marketing of career opportunities in the skilled trades.

To become an apprentice, a person must meet basic eligibility standards (normally, high school standing or equivalent) and have a sponsoring employer. Persons who do not meet minimum academic standards may be able to access upgrading or prior learning assessment options in order to enter into an apprenticeship.

An employer and an employee sign an apprenticeship agreement. This agreement outlines each party's roles and responsibilities in this training arrangement. This agreement is in effect when registered with Apprenticeship Manitoba. With an agreement in place, the apprentice learns the skills in his or her chosen trade by working under a certified journeyperson. The apprentice is paid a wage, which is set out in regulation, for the work performed.

About 80 per cent of the apprentice's training occurs on the job. The other 20 per cent is technical training, taken either once per year in a block of time away from the workplace or through other arrangements. Apprenticeship Manitoba arranges for the delivery of the technical (in-school) aspect of apprentices' training. Once the apprentice has completed all required levels of technical training and practical on-the-job training he or she is eligible to write a certification examination. If successful, the apprentice receives a Certificate of Qualification and becomes a certified journeyperson in the trade, with all the rights and privileges that accompany this status. In most trades, a Red Seal may be affixed to the certificate. This is acquired through the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal program and is affixed to provincial certificates of qualification of those who are successful on an interprovincial examination.

Manitoba is a member of the pan-Canadian Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. For trades designated under the Red Seal Program, the Manitoba Certificate of Qualification bears the Red Seal endorsement. The endorsement is recognized by all Canadian jurisdictions. The holder of a Certificate of Qualification that bears a Red Seal endorsement may work in that trade anywhere in the country.

It may not be necessary to apprentice in a trade if a person can show that he or she has significant previous experience working in that trade. In this situation, a person may challenge the examination and, if successful, acquire a Certificate of Qualifications in the trade (including a Red Seal, if applicable). This examination-only process is called Trades Qualification.

There are nine compulsory certification trades in Manitoba. All persons who wish to work in a compulsory certification trade must apprentice to become eligible to write the certification examination. The compulsory certification trades are: construction electrician, crane and hoisting equipment operator, electrologist, esthetician, hairstylist, industrial electrician, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, sprinkler system installer, and steamfitter/pipefitter.

University and college admission requirements vary from program to program. In general, direct entry to each institution often requires proof of successful high school completion/graduation, with specific high school course and academic achievement requirements. Certain programs also require successful completion of admissions/entrance qualification examinations, work /professional experience and/or other requirements. All institutions have also established special admissions provisions for persons who continue to be enrolled in secondary school (who are often less than 18 years of age), as well as for mature applicants (persons who are at least 21 years of age) who do not meet direct entrance requirements.

International College of Manitoba and Private Vocational Institutions are free to establish their own admission requirements.

All persons interested in applying to postsecondary programs or institutions in Manitoba are encouraged to consult with an appropriate admissions officer/academic counsellor concerning the program/institution to which they wish to apply.

Starting in 2000/01, tuition for domestic students across most public college and university programs was maintained at 10 per cent below the 1999/2000 tuition amount. In 2012, legislative amendments were made to protect affordability for university students. These amendments permit universities to increase tuition fees in direct proportion to inflation based on consumer price index measures. This legislated annual inflationary adjustment assures students of year over year tuition stability. In 2013/14, university tuition weighted average for Arts and Sciences (domestic students) was $3,312. On average, in 2013/14, average college fees (domestic students) were $1,942 a year for full-time programs.

Tuition for international students is not subject to the above guidelines as public tuition fees. Boards of Governors at each public university or college may establish tuition for international students independently. International student fees vary from institution to institution across Manitoba. All international applicants interested in pursuing studies in Manitoba are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the tuition policies and processes at each institution where they intend to enrol.

The Manitoba Student Financial Assistance Program provides loans to provincial residents only. The province's universities and colleges offer a variety of scholarships to qualifying and/or eligible students. External scholarships and grants may also be available depending upon the institution in which a student is enrolled.

All persons in need of financial support assistance are encouraged to consult with an appropriate admissions officer/academic counsellor concerning available financial support and assistance for the program/institution to which they wish to apply.