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Education Funding Options in BC

By: Lindsay McKay

Published On: June 25, 2021

Education Funding Options

Written by Lindsay McKay

Whether you are looking to take a full-time program, part-time program, or continuing education classes, there are numerous funding options for you. To learn more about BC student loans and grants, please visit our Financial Assistance page. Read on to learn about other funding options to help make your dreams become a reality.  

Employer Pays  

Continuing Education Courses and Certificates* 

BC Employer Training Grant: 6 potential streams 

Your employer must submit application. If approved, employers are to pay for all costs in full and, after training has started, submit a reimbursement claim. Depending on the stream, the Province will fund 60 – 100% of the cost of your eligible training. 

The goal of the B.C. Employer Training Grant program (ETG) is to help British Columbians access the skills training they need to adapt to the changing requirements of jobs and the labour market, while encouraging employer involvement in the training of their employees. 

The immediate result of training must be improved job-related skills leading to a “better job” for current employee which is defined as:  

  • Promotion or advancement to another position  
  • Move from part-time to full-time employment  
  • Move from temporary, casual, or seasonal employment to permanent employment  
  • Increased pay  
  • Increased job security

At the time of application, participants must be unemployed or employed by the applicant employer, and employers must have a job for the participant at their company once training is completed. 

Learn about the six different streams and how they work by visiting: WorkBC: BC Employer Training Grant 

*Certification programs eligible per Foundational Training Stream. Diploma programs not eligible at all.* 

Assistance while on EI (Employment Insurance)  

Currently, in BC there are almost 250,000 active beneficiaries that have or currently are, receiving employment insurance. One of the requirements of being on EI is that you are able and willing to work, while actively looking for employment. These requirements can make taking extra training difficult as you may have to drop out at any moment if you get work. 

Starting in August of 2018, it has been possible to continue to receive EI benefits but not have to continuously look for work if you decide to take a full-time training program. To be eligible for this: 

  • You must be receiving or be eligible to receive EI regular benefits or fishing benefits 
  • You must be a long-tenured worker 
  • You must choose a program offered by an approved educational institution located in Canada 
  • You must be considered a full-time student 

If you are eligible, you must request permission from Service Canada. Learn more on the Government of Canada website.  

Ashton College’s full-time programs include: 

Keep in mind that the EI funding option is only applicable for full-time programs. Ashton College has full-time intakes scheduling throughout the year. Check individual program pages for the current start dates. 

Veterans Education and Training Benefit  

The Education and Training Benefit is an education benefit provided by Veterans Affairs Canada to help Veterans get additional training, a certification, a degree, or a diploma to be more competitive in the workforce. Veterans who are honourably released from the Canadian Armed Forces and have spent at least six years of authorized days of CAF service are qualified to receive the Education and Training Benefit. The benefit is not limited to only formal post-secondary training. A smaller amount of funding is also available for short courses, such as those aimed at career and personal development. 

Apply online and learn more about the benefit on the Veterans Affairs Canada website. 

Micro-Loans for Newcomers to Canada 

Vancity Bank’s Back to Work loans are designed to support you in upgrading your qualifications or certification, so that you can find work in your field. Primarily supporting newcomers, Back to Work loans are provided on the strength of your past employment experience (in your home country) and Vancity’s assessment of the labour market. You can receive up to $10,000 to help cover the cost of taking courses to meet local standards or qualifications.  

If you are an immigrant or refugee looking to continue your career in Canada, Windmill Microlending offers microloans to help you afford the credentials you need. Windmill Microlending is a registered charity serving newcomers since 2005. With up to $15,000 available you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be an immigrant and a Permanent Resident, Protected Person, Convention Refugee, Provincial Nominee, Canadian Citizen or Temporary Foreign Worker 
  • Be an internationally trained individual who has completed post-secondary education outside of Canada and/or have a minimum of one year of post-secondary work experience before coming to Canada. 
  • Must be living in Canada at time of loan application  
  • Must also have costs associated with a Career Success Plan to achieve your professional goals, which may include credentials assessments, exam fees, programs of study that are less than two years, or even relocation for employment 

Read Windmill Microlending’s FAQs about their loans. To learn more and to download their Skilled Immigrant Career Success Guide click here. 

No matter your situation, there are education funding options that can help you upgrade your skills, get Canadian credentials, or start your dream career. If none of the above situations are applicable to you, there are loans, grants, and scholarships available through StudentAidBC for both full-time and part-time programs/courses. We hope Ashton College can be part of your educational journey.  


The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog


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