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.
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.
2019/20 and 2020/21 Community Adult Literacy Programs
In 2019/20, CALP grants were funded for two years 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 release about the 2019/20 CALP:
For your reference, the list of 2019/20 CALP funding recipients (PDF) and communities served.
A new call for proposals for the Community Adult Literacy Program will be released in 2021
If you have any questions, please email Louis.Chen@gov.bc.ca. Thank you for your interest in the CALP.