The new tuition policy for adult literacy and basic education in BC: What’s happening?

In a joint press release on December 4, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education announced that starting January 1, 2015, post-secondary institutions will be allowed to charge tuition to adult basic education and upgrading students who attend classes in post-secondary institutions. They then reversed the decision and edited the original press release (removing the original announcement) to state that one-time funding of 6.9 million for the year 2015.2016 will be available to post-secondary institutions to help them transition to this new policy. Nevertheless, starting April 1, 2015, only non-graduated adults will have access to tuition-free courses leading to an Adult Graduation, and these only in school districts. The Ministries argued that post-secondary institutions have said that they can’t afford to offer tuition-free ABE classes, and that many adults could afford to pay tuition. There will be an Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG)  available to low income adults. 

We would like to hear from learners, educators and communities about how this policy will effect them. For example:

  • How will the policy effect enrolment in courses and sustainability of ABE and upgrading programs?
  • Who will quality for the AUG?
  • How will other university programs such as university transfer and skills and trades programs be effected?
  • Does this policy place adult education programs in your community at risk? In what ways?
  • Who will benefit from this policy? Who will lose out?

We would like to gather information to support a full analysis of the policy, and as a basis for further action.  We believe that there is much confusion about how the tuition fees, AUG and cuts will roll out, and the implications for access to basic education for adults in British Columbia are enormous. 

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