Scholarships for Public Servants - Eligibility

This page covers the eligibility rules for the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants program for applicants, employers, and post-secondary institutions.

Applicant Eligibility

Rules for Probation & 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). If you're unsure if you've completed your initial probation period, speak to your supervisor. More information is available about the probationary period on MyHR.
  • Applicants who have been regular employees for less than six 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 performance evaluation rating must be determined by your supervisor to be either “Achieves Expectations” or “Exceeds Expectations.” 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.

Rules for Auxiliary & Casual Employees

  • Auxiliary and casual employees are ineligible for a scholarship because recipients must commit to continuing work in the BC Public Service for a specified period of time in return for receiving the scholarship, which only regular employees can do. Auxiliaries and new employees are encouraged to consider the program after they become regular employees.
  • In some cases, time worked as an auxiliary employee may contribute to the completion of the probation period for new regular employees. Contact AskMyHR for more information on probation.

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, and be reimbursed for money spent on tuition and books. The return of service obligation isn't returned while you're on leave, and the leave period extends the return of service end date.
  • Employees on long term leave without a planned return to work date can't receive a scholarship because they can't commit to the return of service obligation. Once you return to work, you're eligible to apply as long as all other criteria is met.

Employer Eligibility

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

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 check before you consider changing jobs to a different organization. Taking a position at an ineligible organization if you still owe return of service will require you to make a full repayment, your funding will be discontinued, and you would be ineligible for further scholarships. The onus is on the employee, so if you have any questions, please email Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants.

Program Eligibility

Acceptable programs of study for this scholarship program are those that align with the priorities of the B.C. Government and which 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 (including CPA-PREP) and individual courses that don't lead to a certificate, diploma or degree aren't eligible for the scholarship. However, ministries may fund individual developmental courses, job related courses, and mandatory training as determined by the ministry and specified in the position's job description. Developmental training is voluntary and normally completed outside of work hours. Ministries don't operate developmental funding programs parallel to the Pacific Leaders program.

Pacific Leaders is an academic scholarship, so only programs that measure and assess your course work success are eligible. This means there must be tools (like exams or papers) that are marked and/or graded. Programs that simply indicate attendance or completion aren't eligible for funding.

Changing programs during your scholarship year will invalidate your scholarship if pre-approval isn't given, as your scholarship approval was based on the program to which you originally applied. To apply for a program change during a scholarship year, submit the following to the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants mailbox:

  • 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 the applicant outlining why the change is being made, and how the new program aligns with their career development goals.

The transfer of courses between educational institutions is permitted, provided that both institutions are designated and have agreed to the course transfer(s), and you've confirmed that 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.

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

  • Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) refers to the evaluation and acknowledgment of learning that occurs outside of formal credit awarding training and educational programs. There are several ways of assessing prior learning, including challenge exams, portfolio assessment (the most common), and demonstrations of skills and knowledge. The essence of PLAR is the recognition of non-course learning gained experientially, such as from volunteer or workplace activities or private self-guided study. 
  • PLAR courses are ineligible for funding as Pacific Leaders Scholarships are for new learning.
  • Other terminology used to describe prior learning: PLA (prior learning assessment); APL (accrediting prior learning/assessing prior learning); APEL (accrediting prior experiential learning/assessing prior experiential learning); RPL (recognition of prior learning). 

Post-Secondary Institution Eligibility

  • There are restrictions on which post-secondary institutions you can attend in order to be eligible for funding.
  • 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.
  • Ensure your institution is designated by referring to the StudentAidBC website.

More Information on Institution Eligibility

If a program is offered online only, it won't 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.
  • The applicant must provide proof of this approval as part of the 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 isn't sufficient proof.
  • You can transfer educational institutions while receiving the Pacific Leaders Scholarship as long as the new institution is eligible and you don’t change your program of study. If you do transfer schools, notify Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants and your ministry contact.