Online Learning Policy – Funding (Interim)

Date came into force or revised

July 1, 2021

Status

Interim for the school year 2021/2022.

Policy statement

The Ministry of Education will provide funding for eligible educational programs or courses delivered through online instruction. Students must be actively participating to be eligible for Boards of Education/Independent School Authorities to claim funding. The Ministry of Education uses multiple enrolment data collections for online learning.

Rationale or purpose of policy

Changes regarding online learning in the School Act and Independent School Act came into effect on July 1, 2021.  The 2021/2022 school year is an interim year in the implementation of changes to online learning in the Province.  A new, comprehensive online learning policy and procedures guide are under development with rightsholders and stakeholders and will be fully implemented on July 1, 2022.  During the interim school year, the former distributed learning policies have been replaced by interim online learning policies.

Active participation in online learning is equivalent to attendance in a school as defined in the School Act.  Boards of Education/Independent School Authorities must have evidence of active participation to be funded by the Ministry for an online learning course or program.

Authority

Policy in full

In this policy, the terms Board of Education and Board include a Francophone Educational Authority. The term Authority refers to an Independent School Authority.

Online learning programs and courses must be led by BC certified teachers.

Boards and Authorities will report to the Ministry when eligible students enrol in online learning and when they meet the criteria for actively participating in online learning programs or courses.  The Ministry does not provide funding for students who enrol but do not meet the criteria for actively participating as outlined in the Online Learning Policy—Active Participation (Interim).

Funding for online learning in Grades K-9

For funding purposes, full-time equivalent (FTEs) enrolment in online learning schools for Grades K - 9 are determined in a manner similar to other schools, subject to the Online Learning Policy - Active Participation (Interim).

Online learning students in Grades K-9 enrol with only one Board or Authority and are funded for the school year. No additional funding may be claimed if a learner is enrolled in multiple schools/programs within the same Board or Authority.

Funding for online learning in Grades 10-12 and cross enrolling in Grade 8 & 9

To cross enrol a student in online learning, a Board or Authority must have in place an Interim Online Learning Agreement with the Minister.  See the Online Learning Policy - General (Interim) for more information.

For funding purposes, enrolment in online learning schools for Grades 10-12 is determined in a manner similar to other schools, subject to the Online Learning Policy - Active Participation (Interim) and Form 1701 Instructions.

Students in Grades 8 & 9 who enrol in whole or in part in an online learning educational program provided by a Board or Authority may be cross-enrolled with another Board or Authority as well only if the Board or Authority has an Interim Online Agreement with the Minister. Each Board or Authority providing courses to a cross-enrolled student receives funding for each Grade 8 & 9 course claim.  Funding claims for Grade 8 & 9 cross-enrolled students may only be reported by another Board or Authority in the July count.

Students in Grades 10-12 who enrol with a Board or Authority operating an online school may only cross-enrol with other Boards and Authorities if the Board or Authority has an Interim Online Learning Agreement with the Minister. Each Board or Authority offering online courses to a student receives 0.1250 FTE in funding for each four-credit Grade 10-12 course in which a student meets the criteria for actively participating, subject to Online Learning Policy - Active Participation (Interim) and Form 1701 Instructions.

Students are not allowed to take the same course at the same time during the funded school year whether in different schools or the same school. A course must be completed, or withdrawn from, before a student can enrol in the same course again.

For Boards or Authorities to be eligible for funding for the same online learning course taken in the same online learning school by Grade 10-12 students (including adults) the following conditions must be met:

  • The student must have been previously reported as failed (through course completion), or as course completed and wanting to improve their mark or withdrawn from that course.
  • If a student has withdrawn from a course or did not complete a course, there must be a record that demonstrates a student has not been actively participating for two online learning enrolment counts, with a corresponding record of attempts made by the online learning school to contact the student for that course.
  • All learning standards addressed in the curriculum for a course (contained in the corresponding Program Guide) must be provided to the student when a course is claimed for funding again.
  • Assessment of the student’s past work must not be used to evaluate re-claimed course progress. 

Adult students may enrol in an online learning school and are funded according to the adult education provisions in the Ministry of Education Operating Grants Manual.

Adult students who have not graduated (known as non-graduated adults) may take eligible courses as defined in the Adult Funding Policy.  These courses must lead to the British Columbia Certificate of Graduation (the Dogwood) or the Adult Graduation Diploma (the Adult Dogwood).

Eligible tuition-free courses for adult students who have graduated from secondary school or high school in another jurisdiction (known as graduated adults) are only those courses contained on the list of tuition-free courses for Graduated Adults.

Further funding eligibility requirements for all students are set out in the K-12 Funding-General Policy.

Procedures related to policy

The Ministry of Education provides funding to Boards and Authorities for school-aged students enrolled in online learning schools are based on the following procedures: 

For full-time Grades K-9

  • Funding for full time programing through online learning is based on student enrolment counts conducted in September, February, and May.
  • Every full time student enrolled in Grades K-7 who meets the criteria for active participation in an eligible online learning school will be funded at 1.0 FTE (full time equivalent) per school year.
  • If a student enrolled in Grades K-7 chooses to take part of an educational program through more than one school, Boards may make their own arrangements for shared services as long as no tuition fees are charged to the student.
  • Full time students in Grades 8 and 9 will be funded at 0.5 FTE plus 0.125 FTE per eligible four-credit course to a maximum of 1.0 FTE per school year. Each full time student must have a course plan that shows all the courses the students will take during the school year. Additional courses taken after the enrolment data submission that are not included in the plan will not be included in the funding calculation for that student.
  • Full time Grade K - 9 students new to a particular Board or Authority, who meet the criteria for full time participation by the February student enrolment count, funding will be allocated to the Board or Authority operating the online school at half the September FTE rate for that school year (pro-rated to reflect half the school year). Similarly, full time Grade K - 9 students new to a particular Board or Authority at the May enrolment count will be pro-rated at 1/3 of the September FTE rate.

For cross-enrolled Grades 8 & 9

  • To cross enrol a student in online learning, a Board or Authority must have in place an Interim Online Learning Agreement with the Minister.  Students may be cross-enrolled for additional courses any time during the calendar year.  Grade 8 and 9 students are reported for course claims (not a full time program) only by the cross-enrolling school from another Board or Authority and only in the July count.
  • Courses taken by cross-enrolled students in Grades 8 & 9 will be funded for each Grade 8 & 9 course in which the student meets the criteria for actively participating, subject to the Online Learning Policy - Active Participation (Interim) and Form 1701 Instructions.

For Grades 10-12 school-age students

  • To cross enrol a student in online learning, a Board or Authority must have in place an Interim Online Learning Agreement with the Minister. 
  • Students may enrol any time during the calendar year.
  • Online learning courses taken by students in Grades 10 - 12 will be funded at 0.1250 FTE for each eligible four-credit course in which a student meets the criteria for participation (see Form 1701 Instructions for course credit and FTE calculations).
  • A student enrolling only in Grade 10 – 12 courses in an online school, who is also enrolled in Grades K-9 in another school, is counted as a Grade 10 - 12 student for funding purposes.
  • Students may combine Grade 10 - 12 courses in online learning schools with courses in non-online learning schools (standard schools, alternate, continuing education). To aid students taking online learning courses, non-online learning schools may claim one funded support block per student per year (the combined total number of support blocks and courses cannot exceed a maximum of eight for these students – as per the Form 1701 Instructions).
    Example: If a Grade 10-12 student wanted to take six courses in a standard school and two courses through an online learning school, the Ministry would fund each as follows:
    • the Board operating the standard school per existing funding policy for the six courses
    • the Board operating the online learning school at 0.250 FTE for the two eligible four-credit courses in which the student meets the criteria for participating.