In September 2017, access to free tuition at all 25 post-secondary institutions in BC was granted. In July 2018, tuition waivers were expanded to include trades apprenticeships and training.
To be eligible for a tuition waiver you must be between the ages of 19 and 26 and have:
Been in care of government for at least 2 years – includes Voluntary Care Agreement, Special Needs Agreements, Temporary Custody Order or a Continuing Custody Order; or
Lived with a family member (other than a parent) or another adult for at least two years, as part of an agreement or custody order with the Ministry of Children and Family Development or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency; or
Been on a youth agreement for at least two years.
Almost 27? Fear not!
As long as you apply and attend your first day of school prior to your 27th birthday the Ministry will cover your tuition for 4 years or the length of your program. That means if you are currently 26, apply and attend your first day of a four-year bachelors program in September, the tuition waivers will cover you till you turn 30!
In addition, six post-secondary institutions offer their own tuition waivers for youth in and from care ABOVE the provincial waivers. If you do not qualify for a provincial tuition waiver, consider reaching out to the following institutions and check out their eligibility requirements! Additional waivers are available at: UBC, SFU, Langara, UVIC, NVIT, VIU.
For example, UBC’s institution waivers require 1 year of care vs the provincial tuition waivers which require 2 years.
How do I sign up?
Go to the financial aid office at your school and let them know you might be eligible for tuition waiver as a former youth in care. They will provide you with a consent form from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to confirm your history as a former youth in care.
Which public post-secondary institutions are part of the tuition waiver program?
The links below will take you to the financial aid pages for each institution – some already have the consent forms ready for download!
My school isn’t on the list — why not?
At this time, only public post-secondary schools in BC are included. If you are at another school, you may qualify for assistance through the Youth Education Assistance Fund (YEAF), Agreements with Young Adults (AYA), scholarships or bursaries, or student loan programs. Check www.AgedOut.com/education for more information about other resources.
Which 10 unions offer training waivers?
The links below will take you to each union trainers page.
Questions You May Have
I was in care, but not for two years in a row. Am I eligible?
Yes, all experiences in care, in a youth agreement or in the custody of family members may be combined to meet eligibility requirements.
Here are two examples that may be eligible:
- You were in care for six months at four different times.
- You were in care for one year, and then in a transfer of custody for another year.
I was in care, but I was adopted. Am I eligible?
Yes, if you meet the other eligibility criteria, including being in care for at least two years.
What if I change programs?
No problem! Any program at any public post-secondary institution (listed above) is eligible.
Where can I go to learn more about trades apprenticeships and training?
The skilled trades and credentialing sytem for the province is lead and coordinated by The Industry Training Authority (ITA). If you are unclear about how to get into trades, checkout www.itabc.ca
The waiver covers the tuition fee a university or college charges each student. Other school-related expenses, (books or dormitory fees) must be paid by the student. You may be eligible for additional support through Youth Educational Assistance Fund (YEAF) or Agreements with Young Adults (AYA). Eligibility for these programs varies; check out www.AgedOut.com/education for more information.
Can I get a tuition waiver while I am on an AYA or a YEAF?
Yes! Each program has different requirements so check out www.AgedOut.com/education for more information.
Do I have to pay this money back?
No! This is not a loan program.
How long can I receive a tuition waiver?
You can receive a tuition waiver for every semester you are enrolled in a public post-secondary institution until your 27th birthday.
I was told that I was not eligible, but I think I should be. Who can I contact for more information?
Decisions may be made on a case-by-case basis in extenuating circumstances. To have your case heard, contact the System Navigator with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training at email@example.com
The expanded tuition waiver program is the first of a number of improved supports government is developing for young people who have aged out of care.
A more comprehensive program, with wrap around supports, is being developed in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, as part of the 2018-19 budget process.