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, and
  • gain in-demand skills to find employment.

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

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

Programs with a start date prior to April 1, 2022, are under the policy and procedures outlined in the Learner Income Support Policy Manual. View the full policy manual at Learner Income Support policy manual.

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.

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.

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

Citizenship

You must be:

  • a Canadian citizen, or
  • a permanent resident according to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Government of Canada), or
  • 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 address in Alberta, and
  • be in Alberta at the time you are accepted in your program of study.

Employment status

To be eligible, you must be either:

  • unemployed, or
  • working less than 20 hours per week.

When you are unemployed

If you are:

  • eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), you must apply for EI before you start your program.
  • already getting EI benefits and were assessed with a training need, your benefits continue until your claim ends.

Learn more about Employment Insurance.

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, but your application will not be processed until you speak with a Client Services Specialist.

A Client Service Specialist will contact you to discuss your situation and potential eligibility for Employment Insurance. If the specialist determines leaving your job will increase your employability, they will approve a Counsel to Leave Employment and your application for Foundational Learning Assistance will be processed.

Length of training

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

Approved programs

You must be enrolled in an approved program to be eligible for Foundational Learning Assistance.

Approved programs include:

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

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 8 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 MyAlberta Digital ID. If you do not have a digital ID, 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 don’t have one, request an Alberta Student Number at Learner Registry.
  • your Social Insurance Number.

If you have a spouse/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/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.

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