Adult Upgrading

Adult Basic Education (ABE) 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 ABE 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.


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 to reach your learning goals.

Find Flexible Options

Find the Adult Education program that suits you 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 or a public post-secondary college, teaching university or institute.

Adult Education in Two Systems

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.

Public Post-Secondary Institutions

Many public post-secondary institutions (colleges and universities) offer tuition-free adult upgrading courses under program names such as Adult Basic Education, Access Programs or Academic Upgrading. These courses are for adults who want to complete their Adult Graduation Diploma (Dogwood), improve their high school grades or obtain pre-requisites for post-secondary level studies. Explore the links to institution websites listed below to find available courses, registration and other information.

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

The Adult Education Policy Framework provides an overview of the context and policy objectives of the adult upgrading programs in the public post-secondary system.

Course outlines, learning outcomes and information on the history of Adult Basic Education (ABE) can be found in the 2021-2022 Adult Basic Education Articulation Guide.

Financial Assistance

Find out if you are eligible for the Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG). Low-income students taking Adult Upgrading programs at public post-secondary institutions may be eligible. If you qualify, the grant will pay for tuition (if applicable) and other fees, books, supplies, transportation, and 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, Indigenous-controlled organizations, and 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.

CALP funding is allocated to successful applicants on a two-year funding cycle. The application process for the 2021-2023 CALP funding cycle is now closed. The next opportunity to apply for CALP funding is anticipated to open in Spring 2023.

2021/22 CALP Funding

In 2021/22, the Province is investing $2.9 million, which includes one-time top up funding for the 2021/22 program year. This funding will support 97 programs, delivered by 66 organizations in 128 communities across British Columbia.

Check out the 2021/22 CALP media release here.

The 2021/22 CALP Contact List is available here.

If you have any questions about CALP, please contact Heather.Collins@gov.bc.ca