Scholarships for public servants: eligibility

Last updated on April 3, 2024

This page covers the eligibility rules for the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants Program.

Only tuition and books are eligible for Pacific Leaders scholarship funding.

Not eligible for scholarship funding:

  • Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)
  • Prerequisite courses
  • CPA Prerequisite Education Program (CPA-PREP)
  • Fees

On this page

Applicant eligibility

Rules for probation and performance

  • You must be a regular employee who has completed the initial probationary period (six months or 913 hours in one position) prior to the intake deadline (regardless of program start dates)
  • Applicants who've been regular employees for less than 6 months may be asked to submit a copy of the official Completion of Probation letter provided by their supervisor
  • Employees who complete their initial probation and then change jobs are in a subsequent probationary period, and are eligible to apply as long as other eligibility criteria is met
  • As the scholarship supports developmental training, your supervisor must confirm you are at minimum, achieving expectations in your current role  
    • It takes time for supervisors to make this assessment, so if you're new to a role, it may be too soon for your supervisor to assess your performance and support your application
  • In some cases, time worked as an auxiliary employee may contribute to the completion of the probation period for new regular employees

Contact AskMyHRIDIR restricted for more information on probation by submitting a service request using the categories: Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Work Hours & Arrangements > Probation Hours Report

Ineligible employees

  • Auxiliary and casual employees are ineligible
    • Scholarship recipients must commit to continuing work in the BC Public Service for a specified period of time in return for receiving the scholarship
    • Auxiliaries and casual employees are encouraged to consider the program after they become regular employees
  • Political staff, as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Political Staff, are ineligible
  • Employees on long-term leave without a planned return to work date are ineligible
    • They cannot commit to the return of service obligation
    • Once they return to work, they're eligible to apply as long as all other criteria is met

Rules for leaves

Employees on a fixed-term leave with a planned return date (such as maternity or education) can:

  • Apply for and receive a scholarship
  • Start or continue an education program
  • Be reimbursed for money spent on tuition and books

The return of service obligation is not fulfilled while you're on leave, the leave period extends the return of service end date.

Employer eligibility

All ministries and any organizations that are enabled under the Public Service Act are eligible for the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants Program.

You're not eligible if you work in the broader public sector, including:

  • Provincial Health Authorities (such as Island Health)
  • School districts and universities
  • Crown Corporations (example: Community Living BC, BC Hydro)
  • Other municipal or federal governments (example: police)

These organizations have their own terms and conditions of employment.

If you're unsure if an organization is an eligible employer, please email Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants before you consider changing jobs to a different organization.

If you're receiving Pacific Leaders scholarship funding and take a position at an ineligible organization, the following conditions apply:

  • You're required to make a full repayment of scholarship money received, if you have an outstanding return of service obligation
  • Your current funding will be discontinued, and you are required to make a full repayment of scholarship money received
  • You're ineligible for further Pacific Leaders scholarships

The onus is on the employee to confirm the eligibility of the organization, so if you have any questions, please email Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants.

Program eligibility

Acceptable programs of study for this scholarship program align with the priorities of the B.C. government and support BC Public Service employees to do this work.

Some programs that have been accepted for previous scholarships include:

  • Finance, accounting and commerce
  • Project management
  • Natural resources
  • Information and technology
  • Human resources and organizational development
  • Public and business administration
  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Leadership and coaching
  • Social work, counseling and mediation
  • Biology, ecology and environmental management

If you're taking an internally recognized certificate program, such as the Financial Management Certificate Program, and are required to take external courses as part of the certificate, you can apply for a scholarship as long as the courses are offered at a designated institution.

Prerequisite coursework

Prerequisite coursework is not eligible for a Pacific Leaders scholarship.

This includes:

  • Individual courses that do not lead to a certificate, diploma or degree

Developmental courses

Developmental courses are not eligible for a Pacific Leaders scholarship; but, if specified in a position's job description, ministries may fund:

  • Individual developmental courses
  • Job related courses
  • Mandatory training

Developmental training is voluntary and normally completed outside of work hours.

Ministries do not operate developmental funding programs parallel to the Pacific Leaders program.

Course assessment

  • Pacific Leaders is an academic scholarship, so only programs that measure and assess your course work success are eligible
  • There must be tools (like exams or papers) that are marked and/or graded
  • Programs that simply indicate attendance or completion are not eligible for funding

Program change

Changing programs during your scholarship year will invalidate your scholarship, if pre-approval is not given; your scholarship approval was based on the program to which you originally applied.

To apply for a program change during a scholarship year, email the following to Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants:

  • Written support from your supervisor in the form of an updated letter of support, or an email highlighting how the new program meets the same or updated career development goals
  • A paragraph written by you outlining why the change is being made, and how the new program aligns with your career development goals


The transfer of courses between educational institutions is permitted, if:

  • Both institutions are designated and have agreed to the course transfer(s)
  • You've confirmed the course(s) you're transferring will count toward the completion of the program for which you received a scholarship
    • Proof of this confirmation may be required in order to process your reimbursement

Post-secondary institution eligibility

There are restrictions on which post-secondary institutions you can attend in order to be eligible for funding.

Ensure your institution is designated by referring to the StudentAidBC website.

  • Pacific Leaders programs, as with all functions of the BC Public Service, are funded by the citizens of B.C., so in addition to satisfying other eligibility criteria, students must be attending an institution designated for student financial assistance
  • The federal government has authorized the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training (the Ministry) to designate post-secondary institutions for the purpose of determining student eligibility, and the pan-Canadian Designation Policy Framework (the Framework) on student financial assistance guides provinces/territories in developing implementing and maintaining designation policies
  • Under the Framework, designated institutions are expected to focus on student retention and success, and ensuring students improve their employment options and can repay their student loans
  • Designation is a privilege, not a right. As noted in the Framework, funding under student financial assistance programs is provided to assist students, not institutions. Protecting the interests of students and taxpayers is the paramount consideration for the Ministry in designating institutions

Online-only institutions

If a program is offered online only, it will not be designated on the StudentAidBC website, but will be accepted if:

  • It's offered by a Canadian educational institution
  • The institution is designated by that province's Student Aid Designation office

You must provide proof of this approval as part of your application package.

  • An example of sufficient proof is a screenshot and link to the provincial Student Aid Designations office (or its equivalent) clearly indicating that the institution is designated by that province
  • A sample from the institution’s site is not sufficient proof

Changing institutions

You can transfer educational institutions while receiving a Pacific Leaders scholarship, if:

  • The new institution is eligible
  • You do not change your program of study

If you do transfer schools, notify Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants and your ministry contact.

Contact information

For more information about scholarships for B.C. public servants: