Adult Basic Education classes no longer free at College

Starting next semester, the College of the Rockies will be joining other institutions in charging for Adult Basic Education classes.

Arne Petryshen

Starting next semester, the College of the Rockies will be joining other institutions in B.C. that will be charging for Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes. The change was discussed at the Oct. 8 college board of governors meeting.

At the meeting, a number of faculty members and students expressed concerns about the tuition costs and the difficulties that some of the students may have in paying. The college will be bringing the ABE classes in line with university study courses, so one course will cost $305. The Adult Special Education courses, which provide more assistance to students will cost $450, and the English as a Second Language courses will cost $800.

Leslie Molnar, one of those faculty members, said she wanted to raise awareness about he tuition fees.

“I understand that the combined government funding cuts to the ESL and the ABE have decreased the college’s operating budget to the tune of around $300,000,” Molnar said, adding she also understands the board’s responsibility to balance finances. But Molnar said she was deeply troubled by yet another shift of the financial burden to the students.

“This extra tuition in ABE and ESL will be a burden for some of our students,” she said. “It will be the thing that tips the barrier and makes school unaffordable.”

There is an Adult Upgrading Grant which can help some students, but they have to meet criteria including financial need.

“It says right on the form that if you have other forms of income then that may affect your eligibility,” she noted. “You have to be successful — you can’t keep getting the grant if you have circumstances or learning disabilities that cause you to take the programs that are longer. And not to mention the fact that the form is eight pages long. If the student has literacy issues or doesn’t have access to a computer, that in itself can be a barrier.”

College president David Walls said they do have listings of what other colleges are charging for the course. He said some have hiked their tuition higher than that.

Walls said the fees are meant to recover the costs that were lost with the province’s funding cuts.

Walls said there is also a completion award in development.

“What we’re looking at is, as an incentive for students to complete,” Walls said, adding completion rates are not as high as they would like to see. “The figure that I think is being thrown around is $100 to $150.”

Molnar followed up with philosophical question of how the college feels about the direction that this institution and others will have to take because of the shift of the financial burden.

“Do you support the direction that the government is advocating?” Molnar asked.

Wall said he could never support a reduction in funding in post secondary.

“We had the opportunity when it was in the plans,” Walls said. “We had discussions and expressed similar concerns actually to what you all presented today.”

Walls said they also told the Ministry of Advanced Education that they weren’t ready for the switch — initially the province had removed $230,000 in provincial grants for  this year’s ABE courses.

“They provided that money back towards the transition, which is a one year thing,” Walls said. “That gives us time to think about it and we don’t incur a financial penalty up front.”

 

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read