Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

BC residents can now access Adult Basic Education tuition-free (applicable fees still apply).


Adult Basic Education (ABE) courses and programs help you, as an adult learner, to prepare for post-secondary studies and the workplace. ABE programs offered through OL are designed by the Ministry of Advanced Education and are similar to ABE programs offered by other BC post-secondary institutions. If you are a BC resident, you can take ABE programs without paying tuition.

An adult learner in the context of ABE means a person who is either at least 19 years of age or who is 18 years of age and has been out of the public school system a minimum of 12 months.

Estimated Program Costs

BC residents do not pay tuition, only fees. If you are not a BC resident or have questions about applicable fees, contact Student Services.

OL ABE Programs

Choosing Courses

Where you start depends on what you already know.

  • To succeed in your studies, you need certain skills in English and math.
  • Assessments are available to help you decide where to start.

Which courses you take depends on which ones you have completed.

  • You may be able to apply credits you earned in high school toward the BC Adult Graduation Diploma but must complete at least three courses as an adult learner (and at least one at OL or TRU).

What courses you choose is based on your goals.

  • If you plan to transfer to a post-secondary (PS) program, you must complete at least one advanced-level math course and four provincial-level courses.
  • Some PS institutions also require basic knowledge of a second language.
  • Check admission requirements at BCCAT (British Columbia Council on Admissions & Transfer).

How many courses you take may affect your ability to complete them.

  • Learning is more effective when you work consistently on one or two courses instead of taking many courses simultaneously.
  • You have anywhere from 7.5 to 9 months (30 to 36 weeks) to finish each course, but you can finish sooner, especially if you take fewer courses at a time.

Before Registering or Applying

Please read about distance education and course delivery formats.

Financial Assistance

You can apply for financial assistance if you meet specific place-of-residence requirements. See Student Awards & Financial Support.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

If you have applied for or been admitted to an OL ABE program, you may be eligible for credit based on an assessment of your prior learning. PLAR allows you to earn academic credits for knowledge, training and skills gained through your work and life experience.


We're with you at every step of your educational journey. Feel free to contact Student Services if you have any questions about the program application process, ABE programs and courses or any of the services available to you as an online student.