Be an Informed Student

If you are considering enroling at a private training institution, use the information below to make an informed choice.

Institutions and Programs

The Private Training Institution Directory provides up-to-date information on private training institutions in the province.  Use the directory to find out:

  • Whether an institution is certified
  • Whether an institution is registered, interim designated or designated. Only designated institutions can apply for British Columbia’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation, enrol international students on study permits, or enrol students who wish to apply for financial assistance through StudentAid BC
  • If an institution’s certificates have been suspended or cancelled
  • Whether the institution has requested a reconsideration of a decision by the registrar or commenced an appeal to the commissioner, and the outcome of the reconsideration or appeal
  • A record of any administrative penalties, suspensions or cancellations, and injunctions

These records will be included in the directory for at least two years, and not longer than five years, based on what the registrar considers to be in the public interest.

Tuition and Fee Information

Designated and interim designated institutions must provide information about the tuition and related fees for each approved program in their publications and on their website, if they have a website.

Your enrolment contract must be clear and understandable and contain information about:

  • The institution, including what type of certificate it holds
  • Your program, including start and end dates, hours of instruction, method of delivery and the credential to be granted on completion, and
  • Fees and refunds, including how much you will pay, and the institution’s policy for refunding tuition and fees

If your enrolment contract is for longer than six months, a certified institution must not require you to pay your tuition in a single instalment.

Tuition Refunds

Institutions must have tuition refund policies, and may not accept any tuition until they have either:

  • Given you a copy of the policy, or
  • Posted the policy on their website

When a refund is due, an institution must provide it within 30 days of:

  • Receiving a notice of withdrawal from a student
  • Providing a student with a notice of dismissal
  • Receiving notice from the registrar to issue a refund because the institution did not provide work experience, or because a student was admitted without meeting the admission requirements

If a refund is due and you have paid for but not received textbooks or other course materials, including equipment or uniforms, the institution must also refund the fees charged for these items. Learn more about when tuition must be refunded.

Signing an Enrolment Contract

Certified institutions must sign a written contract with each student they enrol, unless the program is employer provided (meaning all students enrolled are funded by a single employer or third party).  This applies to approved programs and programs not requiring approval.

The student enrollment contract must set out accurate information about the program.  The institution must give the student a copy of the signed contract as soon as practicable, either at the time of signing, or by e-mail or registered mail.  

Contracts for approved programs must:

  • Be written in a clear and comprehensible manner in not less than 10 point type
  • Be for a term no longer than 18 months
  • Include all required information

The contract must be dated and signed by:

  • You, the student or, if you are under the age of 19, by your parent or legal guardian, and
  • An individual who has legal authority to act on behalf of the institution

Contracts for programs that do not require approval must include:

  • A statement that the program of instruction does not require approval under the PTA; and
  • A statement that a student may not file a claim against the Fund with the trustee in respect of the program of instruction.

Along with your contract, institutions must provide you with a program outline.

If the program includes work experience, your enrolment contract must include information about the work experience component of the program.


Be aware of the policies at any institution you attend. These policies will apply to things like attendance, student conduct, dismissal and grade appeals. You will be expected to comply with these policies, which may differ from institution to institution.

TESOL and TESL Programs

TESOL Canada and TESL Canada set standards for TESOL and TESL programs. Institutions may choose to apply to these organizations for recognition of their programs, but are not required to do so. Therefore some programs using the name TESOL or TESL do not meet the standards usually associated with these names. In choosing a TESOL or TESL program students should ensure that it will meet their needs and help them reach their career goals.