Be an Informed Student

If you are considering enrolling at a private training institution, do your research to make sure the institution you select offers a program that meets your learning objectives and career goals.

Make an informed choice:

  • Review the institution's website and program description.
  • Look up the institution on the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) Directory.
  • Confirm program costs and tuition refund policy.
  • Visit the institution (if possible).
  • Talk to current/former students.
  • Read online reviews.
  • Research other comparable programs.

PTIB Directory

The PTIB Directory provides up-to-date information on certified and formerly certified private training institutions and the programs they offer.

Use the PTIB Directory to find out:

  • Whether an institution is certified by PTIB and what type of certificate it holds (registration, interim designation or designation). Only institutions that hold a PTIB designation certificate can apply for Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation and StudentAid BC (SABC) designation. Institutions need these designations to host international students or students requiring financial assistance through SABC.
  • Whether a program has either been approved by PTIB or does not require approval. This is decided by PTIB. The distinction is important because only students enrolled in approved programs are eligible to make a claim on the Student Tuition Protection Fund in the event that your institution ceases to hold a certificate or misleads you regarding your program.
  • Whether there have been any enforcement actions taken against the institution in the past two years. Enforcement actions include compliance orders, administrative penalties, certificate suspensions and cancellations, and injunctions.

Tuition and Fee Information

Institutions that hold a designation or interim designation certificate must either list tuition and related fees for each approved program on their website or provide a link to the PTIB Directory where the information can also be found.

Institutions must not charge more than $250 for a domestic student application fee or $1,000 for an international student application fee.

Student Enrolment Contracts

Institutions must comply with regulatory standards that govern the content and form of your enrolment contract.

Institutions are required to enter into written enrolment contracts with students enrolled in both approved programs and programs that do not require approval. Your enrolment contract must not be for a term of more than 18 months.

Your enrolment contract for an approved program must be clear and understandable, and include:

  • Information about your program, including admission requirements, start and end dates, hours of instruction, method of delivery and the credential to be granted on completion.
  • A copy of the program outline.
  • A breakdown of tuition and related fees.
  • The institution's tuition refund policy.

Tuition Refunds

Institutions are required to have a tuition refund policy that meets regulatory standards. This policy must be provided to you or posted on the institution's website before the institution can accept any tuition.

You may be entitled to a full refund if:

  • The institution enrolls you in a program for which you do not meet the admission requirements and you have not misrepresented your knowledge or skills when applying for admission.
  • If you change your mind and withdraw from the program within 7 days of both you and the institution signing the enrolment contract (provided it is before the start of the program).
  • If the institution fails to provide the work experience within the contract term.

For more information on tuition refund standards, see the Private Training Act Policy Manual s. 3.2.8.

Student Policies

Institutions are required to have a number of student policies in place (attendance, dismissal, grade appeal, work experience, sexual misconduct, dispute resolution). These policies must be provided to students before the start of the program.

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the following required policies:

  • Dispute resolution policy – this policy describes how a student complaint is to be handled and sets a 45 day limit from when the student makes the complaint to when the institution must give the student a written decision.
  • Dismissal policy – this policy describes what constitutes reasonable grounds to dismiss a student and the process by which a student may be dismissed.
  • Work experience policy – this policy describes how a student is placed and evaluated in a work experience (clinical placement, co-op, practicum, preceptorship) and the requirements for participation.

Record Keeping

Keep copies of all records related to the program and the institution. This includes your application, letter of acceptance, enrolment contract, payment receipts, and any correspondence (e-mail, text messages, letters) you have with the institution leading up to your enrollment and during your program. You may wish to rely on these records should you find yourself in a dispute with the 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.