Adult Upgrading

Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs for domestic students are tuition-free at 18 public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. School districts also provide tuition-free Adult Education programs.

Contact the public post-secondary institution or school district you wish to apply to in order to find out more information about eligibility requirements, course offerings and start dates.

To help you with your search, check out UpgradeBC.ca, a new centralized resource to provide people throughout BC the information they need to find tuition-free adult upgrading programs in their communities.


Taking high school courses can help with various educational paths – improving literacy and numeracy skills, working towards high school graduation, upgrading for work or for entrance into a post-secondary program.

Be sure to check with an academic advisor before starting an Adult Education program – they will help confirm the courses and credits you need in order to reach your learning goals.

Find Flexible Options

Find the Adult Education program that suits you best by researching the institutions and programs to make the best selection. There are several options that differ in location, cost, length and format. For example, you may choose an institution or program that offers:

  •     Day or evening courses
  •     Courses that are self-paced or teacher-directed
  •     Learning online or in a classroom
  •     Courses delivered by a school district, college or teaching university

Adult Education Institutions

School Districts

School districts offer high school courses for adults at secondary schools, adult learning and continuing education centres throughout the province. These locations are tailored specifically to the needs of adult students by using various learning environments and instructional methods that could include face-to-face, self-paced and/or online learning. Course offerings vary between locations.

Post-Secondary Institutions

Post-secondary institutions (colleges and universities) offer tuition-free literacy, upgrading and high school-level courses which are referred to as Adult Basic Education, Access or pre-postsecondary courses. Registration and student fees may vary and apply toward Adult Education courses, so it’s best to check with the public post-secondary institution directly about related fees. Credits for Adult Education courses are generally recognized and transferred between participating institutions.

Financial Assistance

Find out if you are eligible for the Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG). The grant is available to eligible low-income students taking Adult Education programs at public post-secondary institutions. If you qualify, the grant will pay for tuition (if applicable) and other fees, books, supplies, transportation, unsubsidized childcare.

Public post-secondary institutions:

British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
Camosun College
Capilano University
Coast Mountain College
College of New Caledonia
College of the Rockies
Douglas College
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Langara College
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
North Island College
Northern Lights College
Okanagan College
Selkirk College
Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University-Open Learning Agency
University of the Fraser Valley
Vancouver Community College
Vancouver Island University

Community Literacy Organizations In Partnership with Public Post-Secondary Institutions

Community literacy organizations, in partnership with public post-secondary institutions, offer community adult literacy programs (CALP) in many communities across the province.  CALPs allow adults to take non-credit and low literacy courses before they pursue formal learning and training at a school district or public post-secondary institution.

List of 2018/19 Community Adult Literacy Programs

In 2018/19, 101 CALP grants were funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, serving communities throughout British Columbia.

The objectives of the Community Adult Literacy Program are to:

  • Increase the level of literacy and numeracy proficiencies among adults - 19 years and older - in order to meet the increasing demands of our labour market.
  • Meet the varying needs of adult learners including Indigenous peoples, immigrants, and persons with disabilities.
  • Increase literacy awareness among British Columbians.

Check out the media releases about the 2018/19 CALP:

Check out the list of 2018/19 CALP funding recipients (PDF) and communities served.