Alberta Private Career Colleges (PCCs)

Licensing of Programs at Alberta Private Career Colleges (under the Private Vocational Training Act)

Before becoming eligible for designation for the purposes of student aid, programs offered at Alberta private career colleges must be licensed by the Private Career Colleges Branch as required under the Private Vocational Training Act. Licensing requirements for PCCs consider both industry support for the program and the institution’s ability to safely and effectively deliver that program to students. The application and licensing process requires that the PCC demonstrate labour market demand for the program and evidence that the industry supports the proposed curriculum.

Career programs offered by Alberta PCCs must be licensed by the Government of Alberta in accordance with the Private Vocational Training Act and the Private Vocational Training Regulation.

The licensing process has been designed to help PCCs understand and comply with the Private Vocational Training Act and Regulation. This is to ensure that rigorous program development and planning has taken place. For more information on the licensing process or to contact the PCC Branch, visit Alberta Private Career Colleges website.

Designation Process

After the above licensing process has been completed, Alberta Student Aid receives an internal request to review the new PCC and its licensed program(s) for designation. At this time, the PCC is reviewed against the Alberta Private Career College Institution Designation Requirements, discussed below.

Alberta Institution Designation Agreement (AIDA)

After licensing requirements have been met and if the institution meets the designation eligibility criteria, private career colleges may have their programs designated for student financial assistance by signing an Alberta Institution Designation Agreement (AIDA). This agreement sets out the policies and guidelines that an institution must adhere to in the administration of student aid to maintain designation status. Compliance with the AIDA is monitored by the Portfolio and Institutional Analysis Unit of Alberta Student Aid.

See a sample of the AIDA, for more information.

Alberta Private Career College Institution Designation Requirements

To be designated for Alberta and/or Canada student loans and grants, an Alberta private career college (PCC) must meet the following requirements:

  1. have signed and adhere to the Alberta Institution Designation Agreement for Student Aid which will require the educational institution to comply with legislation, permit audits and to meet other requirements including to:
    1. insure its operations under a contract of General Liability Insurance, in accordance with the Insurance Act, in an amount not less than $2,000,000 insuring against bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage,
    2. establish and publish its tuition and fee policies,
  2. have the educational institution owner attend training offered by Alberta Student Aid,
  3. collect and report information to Advanced Education as required,
  4. develop and provide a loan repayment strategy, and       
  5. adhere to the Institution Designation Waiting Period.                                                 

Once a newly licensed PCC meets the Alberta Private Career Colleges Institution Designation requirements, its licensed program(s) will be approved for designation status. A newly licensed PCC has designation status when at least one of its licensed programs is designated for student aid.

Alberta Student Aid receives an internal request to review a new program for designation status when a designated PCC offers a newly licensed program. Each newly licensed program will become eligible for designation status provided the program meets the Alberta Private Career Colleges Program Designation Requirements.

Institution Designation Waiting Period

Any educational institution, including a new campus (as defined in the Private Vocational Training Regulation) for existing PCCs, that does not have a program licensing application under review by the Private Careers Colleges branch of Advanced Education before

May 29, 2020 will be subject to the Institution Designation Waiting Period Policy. Educational institutions with programs that are currently in the process of being licensed and/or designated by May 29, 2020 will not be impacted. A PCC that has been licensed prior to the

May 29, 2020 will not be subject to the Institution Designation Waiting Period for new programs at the same campus. 

Before a program at an Alberta PCC campus can be considered for designation for Alberta and/or Canada student aid, at least one post-secondary level program licensed under the Private Vocational Training Act (PVTA) offered by the campus must have been licensed for at least 12 months. The PCC must have had student attendance in a program for which they have applied for designation during the Institution Designation Waiting Period.

The Institution Designation Waiting Period only applies for the first program submitted for designation review for each campus. Any additional programs licensed within the Institution Designation Waiting Period will be eligible for designation once the Institution Designation Waiting Period for the first program has passed.

Example:

  • If Program A is licensed on January 31, 2018 and Program B is licensed on June 1, 2018, both Program A and Program B will be eligible for designation on January 31, 2019.

Additional time beyond the Institution Designation Waiting Period may be required to validate student attendance as Student Aid will use the annual reporting process for licensing under the PVTA to confirm this information.

Stop orders and/or Director’s orders issued under the PVTA or other significant compliance or legal issues related to the operation of the educational institution that occur within the Institution Designation Waiting Period between licensing and designation will be taken into account and may impact an educational institution’s final designation eligibility.

Examples:

  • Failure to meet annual reporting requirements for licensed programs;
  • Concerns regarding the adequacy of the educational institution’s financial resources for the continued provision of licensed programs;
  • Educational institutions are not delivering programs as licensed;
  • Compliance issues pertaining to student complaints and student enrollment contracts.

Request for Exemption from Institution Designation Waiting Period

Request for Exemption from Institution Designation Waiting Period

An existing Alberta PCC that is opening a new campus in Alberta may request an exemption from the Institution Designation Waiting Period if they are seeking designation status for the new campus.

A request for exemption may only be submitted after the new campus has been licensed under the Private Vocational Training Act (PVTA).

A request for exemption from the Institution Designation Waiting Period will be reviewed by the Executive Director of Student Aid on a case-by-case basis.

Past performance and compliance history will be taken into account for existing PCCs that wish to request exemption from the Institution Designation Waiting Period for the new campus.

No requests for exemptions will be considered from an existing Alberta PCC that has had a repayment rate result in the red zone (unacceptable 0-59.9%) in any of the last three most recent years at any of its campuses. At least one of the existing Alberta PCC campuses must have three or more years of historical repayment rates.

No requests for exemptions will be considered from an existing Alberta PCC with stop orders and/or Director’s orders issued under the PVTA.

An educational institution may contact the Portfolio and Institutional Analysis Unit if they wish to request for exemption from the Institution Designation Waiting Period by sending an email to: piaunit@gov.ab.ca.

Alberta Student Aid will review the request and may contact the educational institution if additional information is required. As part of this review, Alberta Student Aid may conduct a compliance review of the existing Alberta PCC campuses and a meeting with the educational institution’s representatives may be scheduled to seek further clarification.

Once a decision has been made, the educational institution’s designated representative will be notified in writing.

Program Designation Requirements

To be designated for full-time Alberta and Canada student loans and grants, a program offered by an Alberta PCC must meet the General Program Designation Requirements as well as the following requirements:

  1. be licensed under the Private Vocational Training Act,
  2. be offered by an educational institution that has signed the Alberta Institution Designation Agreement,
  3. be post-secondary in nature and result in a certificate, diploma or degree credential,
  4. be a program of 12 weeks or more in length,
  5. if the Minister considers the employment of graduates to be relevant, the potential for employment for graduates of the program is acceptable to the Minister, and
  6. have at least 20 instruction/practicum hours on average per week.

A program that meets criteria (a) through (e) but is only delivered with less than 20 instruction/practicum hours per week is not eligible to be designated for Canada student aid but may be designated for part-time Alberta student aid only.

If a program is delivered online, additional designation requirements must be met. See the Online Designation section for more information.