Foundational Learning Assistance

Students in foundational learning and skills development programs can apply for funding to help with education and living costs.

Explore pages in:
Funding for academic upgrading and adult learning
  • Foundational Learning Assistance
  • Contacts

Overview

Students in foundational learning or skills development programs may be eligible for funding to help pay for education and living costs. Foundational Learning Assistance funds education programs that can help you:

  • increase your English language skills
  • complete academic upgrading for a high school diploma or for post-secondary pre-requisites
  • gain in-demand skills to find employment

Foundational Learning Assistance is a monthly financial award, calculated based on household financial need, to help you pay for:

  • educational costs such as tuition, mandatory fees, student association fees, and books and supplies
  • living costs such as food, clothing, personal needs, transportation, rent/mortgage and utility expenses

Health benefits are not covered as part of Foundational Learning Assistance. If you need health benefits, learn more and apply at: Alberta Adult Health Benefit.

For more detailed program information and policies, refer to the:

For program designation guidelines for educational institutions and training providers, refer to the:

Approved programs

To be eligible for Foundational Learning Assistance, you must be enrolled in a program that is approved for Foundational Learning Assistance.

Approved programs are offered by more than 40 educational providers in Alberta, including public post-secondary institutions, private career colleges or training providers, First Nations colleges, and non-profit organizations. You can contact educational institutions directly to determine whether a program you are interested in is approved for Foundational Learning Assistance.

The following types of foundational learning or skills development programs may be approved. See the policy manual for details.

Table 1. Approved programs and purpose

Program Purpose
Academic upgrading Learning at a grade 10 to 12 educational level, to help you:
  • pursue post-secondary study
  • get a job
Adult Basic Education Training in:
  • literacy and numeracy (grades 1 to 6)
  • adult basic education (grades 7 to 9)
English as an Additional Language Training for those whose first language is other than English.

*You may also be eligible for federal funding under Language for Newcomers to Canada (LINC). If you are interested in English as an Additional Language, apply for LINC first.

Integrated Skills Training This training combines academic and general employability skills with occupation-related skills.
Integrated Foundational Pathways (IFP) Supportive and interactive learning that blends:
  • essential skills
  • academics
  • applied skills development
Occupational training Greater than 2 weeks but less than 12 weeks of training helps you:
  • build work-related skills
  • improve your job prospects
Transitional Vocational Program If you have a mild developmental disability, this program provides training that:
  • increases your chances of getting a job
  • helps you be more independent

Eligibility

Make sure you are eligible for Foundational Learning Assistance before you apply.

Age

You must be 18 years of age when your program starts.

16- to 17-year-olds may be eligible for Foundational Learning Assistance in some circumstances. See the policy manual for details.

Citizenship

You must be either:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • a permanent resident according to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Government of Canada)
  • a Protected person according to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Government of Canada) who is legally entitled to work and study in Canada

You must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Residency

You must:

  • have an established Alberta address
  • be in Alberta at the time of acceptance into the approved program of study

Students residing in border communities are considered residents of the province/territory to which their home postal code belongs.

Employment status

To be eligible, you must be either:

  • unemployed
  • working less than 20 hours per week

When you are unemployed

If you are receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you can apply for and receive Foundational Learning Assistance until your claim ends.

If you are receiving EI Special Benefits, you are not eligible for Foundational Learning Assistance. 

When you are employed

If you are working more than 20 hours a week and want to leave your job to attend training, you can apply for Foundational Learning Assistance. A Client Service Specialist will contact you to discuss your situation and potential eligibility.

If the specialist approves a Counsel to Leave Employment, your application for Foundational Learning Assistance will be processed, and you may be eligible for Employment Insurance.

Length of training

You can be funded to attend full-time training for a lifetime maximum of 50 months.

How to apply

Step 1. Get accepted into an approved program.

Step 2. Ask your educational institution to confirm your enrolment in the Student Management System.

Step 3. Check your email. When you are able to apply, you will get an email with a link to the application.

Step 4. Complete all the questions and submit your application.

Submit your application up to 12 weeks before your training starts. You must answer all the questions. Processing will be delayed if your application is incorrect or incomplete.

You must have the following to access the online application:

  • a verified Alberta.ca Account – If you do not have an Alberta.ca Account, you have to create one to access the online application. The process can take up to 10 days.
  • an Alberta Student Number – Look up your Alberta Student Number, or if you do not have one, request an Alberta Student Number at Learner Registry.
  • your Social Insurance Number.

If you have a spouse or partner, you will need their Alberta Student Number and Social Insurance Number as well.

If an application is not completed within 30 days, it will be cancelled and you will have to start again.

After you apply

You will be notified of the status of your application. Once your application is processed, you will be advised of:

  • the amount of money you may get or the reason(s) you will not get funding
  • your right to request a review of the decision
  • when you can expect to receive funding

If education costs were included in your assessment:

  • books and supply costs will be included in your first payment for each training period
  • tuition and fees will be paid directly to your educational institution

Report a change

When you are receiving Foundational Learning Assistance, you must report any changes that occur as soon as they happen. Call the Foundational Learning Assistance contact centre when there is a change to your:

  • attendance status (for example, changing from full time to part time or withdrawing)
  • study period dates
  • educational institution
  • income
  • spouse or partner’s income
  • marital status
  • number of dependents
  • allowable costs

Tax slip

Foundational Learning Assistance is taxable income. You will receive a tax slip in February to include in your tax filing for the previous year.

If you need help with your taxes, contact the Canada Revenue Agency.