BC NDP government keeps promise to remove Adult Basic Education and ELL tuition fees

In 2015, the BC Liberal government started charging tuition fees for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning classes. Today, the BC NDP government announced they'd be free once again.

“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.”

Back in 2015, the BC Liberal government allowed institutions to set fees for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learnng courses up to $1,600 per semester of full-time studies — the same as the average tuition for an arts and science undergraduate program. Unfortunately, the massive cost increase made taking these courses too expensive for the people who'd benefit the most from them. According to the BC government, 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 once the fees were applied.

During the election, the BC NDP promised to reverse these fees, and the barriers they imposed on British Columbians' ability to get access to education.

“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.”

To read the media release from the BC government, click here.