The British Columbia government is eliminating tuition fees on Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English Language Learning (ELL) programs, opening the door for tens of thousands of people to upgrade their education and skills every year.
“We’re committed to making it easier for British Columbians to get ahead,” said Premier John Horgan. “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. Enrolment in Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs subsequently dropped almost 35% 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.”
“The numbers told the story – tuition fees on ABE and ELL programs shut people out. We’re re-opening those doors,” said Minister of Education Rob Fleming. “Now any British Columbian can go back to school free of charge, upgrade their skills and build a better life for themselves and their families.”