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 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.
- Contact your local school district to find a learning centre
- Find out about free courses available to adults who have already graduated
- Learn about the Adult Graduation program
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.
- Adult Education Policy Framework
- View learning outcomes and transfer guides in the 2020/21 ABE Articulation Handbook
- ABE Student Enrolment Infographic for the public secondary and post-secondary education system in B.C.
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.
The Community Adult Literacy Program (CALP)
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has supported the Community Adult Literacy Program (CALP) with funding for more than 20 years. CALP funding is allocated to community organizations in partnership with public Post-Secondary Institutions to deliver adult, family and Indigenous literacy programming across British Columbia.
The CALP objectives are to:
- Increase the level of literacy and numeracy proficiencies among adults - 19 years and older - in order to meet the increasing demands of the labour market;
- Meet the varying needs of adult learners including Indigenous people, immigrants, and persons with disabilities; and
- Increase literacy awareness among British Columbians.
In the 2019-2021 funding cycle, CALP funding was issued to 69 organizations to deliver 94 community literacy programs across the province. The list of 2019-2021 CALP recipients is available here.
Check out the 2020/21 CALP media release at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AEST0049-001674
2021-2023 CALP Funding Cycle
The application process for the 2021-2023 CALP funding cycle is now closed. Applications were accepted between March 15 and April 16, 2021.
All applicants will be contacted by the Ministry by June 30, 2021, and advised of the outcome of their application.
If you have any questions about CALP, please contact Heather.Collins@gov.bc.ca.