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By Patrick Szpak

Students at Ryerson can look to Manitoba with envy come tax time next year.

Manitoba’s provincial government announced last week that students studying and living in Manitoba can claim up to 60 per cent of their tuition as a tax rebate.

The rebates were announced during the annual throne speech by Lt.-Gov. John Harvard.

Harvard called the rebates a first in Manitoba history, saying students could begin claiming the rebate for six years while working to establish a career in Manitoba.

“While we have made more progress in keeping our young people, more work is needed. We will continue with policies that provide affordable, accessible education opportunities and hope for the future,” Harvard said during the speech.

The rebates are intended as an incentive to keep Manitoba’s university graduates in the province.

The rebates are the largest of their kind in Canada and dwarf Ontario’s tax rebates for tuition. Students can claim an indexed amount of $27 per month of study on their tuition.

Atul Mehra, a chartered accountant and president of Mehra & Co. in Richmond Hill, said the difference is significant.

He said students paying $5000 in tuition, who earn up to $32,000 after graduation, would save an additional $590 dollars per year if they could claim Manitoba’s tuition rebate.

Mehra added that students earning more would also benefit more, with those earning up to $60,000 saving an $835 under Manitoba’s system.

He said that although the Manitoba rebates are not huge, they do make a difference to tax-payers. “The Manitoba government is providing an inventive to stay within the province.”

Ryerson students from Manitoba won’t see the cash as long as they study in Toronto. For Lindsay Harris, a third-year early childhood education student who came to Ryerson from Winnipeg, the credit wouldn’t have been a factor in her decision to leave.

“I wouldn’t have stayed because of that… (Ryerson) is the only degree program that is offered, and it wasn’t offered in Manitoba. That was my only factor,” Harris said.

“If someone had it in their mind that they were going to leave Manitoba, they wouldn’t stay because of this,” Harris added.

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