Tuition removed on adult basic education and English language programs

Premier John Horgan takes a selfie with Camosun College students. Government of B.C. photo
Premier John Horgan takes a selfie with Camosun College students. Government of B.C. photo

Victoria is eliminating tuition fees on Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English Language Learning (ELL) programs, reversing a policy that was adopted in 2015 by the previous administration.

“We’re committed to making it easier for British Columbians to get ahead,” said Premier John Horgan, in a press release. “By eliminating these fees, we’re tearing down the roadblocks to the basic education and skills people need to improve their lives. The action we’re taking today gives hope and help to people throughout the province and is a long-term investment in B.C.’s economy.”

Today’s announcement at Camosun College in Victoria reverses action taken by the previous government in 2015 to impose tuition fees for ABE and ELL learners. Under that 2015 policy, Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning fees were set by each institution up to a maximum of $1,600 per semester of full-time studies, the equivalent of the average cost of tuition for an arts and science undergraduate program, according to the government press release. Enrolment in Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs subsequently dropped almost 35 per cent from 10,244 full-time equivalent spaces in 2013-14 to 6,692 full-time equivalent spaces in 2016-17.

“Our province can’t afford to lose students who are keen to learn or advance their skills training in the post-secondary sector because of financial barriers,” said Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. “I’m proud we’re taking this action to expand opportunities for ABE and ELL students to thrive in the workforce and achieve academic success.”