Overview

When you enrol in a licensed career program at a private college, you sign a contract that outlines both your and your college's roles and responsibilities.

It's important for you to read and understand this contract, as well as your college's student rules and policies.

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Every student signs an Alberta Student Enrolment Contract (PDF, 1.1 MB) to enrol in a licensed career training program. This contract clearly spells out what you can expect from your college, and their expectations from you. It confirms:

  • the career program you are taking, including its start date, length and how it’s delivered
  • program fees
  • that you meet the program’s admission requirements
  • that you researched your program prior to enrolling
  • how withdrawals, terminations and tuition refunds are processed
  • the process to resolve concerns or complaints
  • what information you need to provide before and after you graduate

This contract is legally binding. Read it carefully before you sign it, and take a copy of the signed document with you for your records. If you change your mind after you sign it, you can cancel the contract with no penalty within 4 business days.

Any changes made to the signed contract must be agreed to in writing by you and your private career college.

If you have any questions about the contract, please talk to your career college. If you're not asked to sign a contract when you enrol, please contact the Private Career Colleges Branch.

College policies

When you sign your Alberta Student Enrolment Contract, you agree that you have received a copy of the private career college’s student rules and policies. These are developed by the college and can include:

  • student conduct
  • tardiness
  • absences
  • dress codes
  • circumstances under which students may be suspended or expelled

These rules and policies are not set by government. They may also be different in other private career colleges. Your college must provide you with a copy of their rules and policies if you ask for them.

Before you enrol

You should know what is expected from you at every stage of your career training experience — from before you enrol to after you graduate.

Your responsibilities

Research your private career college before you sign an Alberta Student Enrolment Contract. This can help you find out what to expect, and what your private career college will expect from you. Research:

  • the college’s program, policies and instructors
  • program costs and associated fees
  • background information about your private career college and its student rules and policies
  • if you need the skills you would build through the program, by contacting potential employers and related professional organizations

When you sign the contract, you should be prepared to pay a deposit. You should also confirm when your tuition needs to be paid in full.

Fees

Your private career colleges may ask you to pay 3 types of fees:

  1. Registration
  2. Tuition
  3. Incidentals, such as:
    • textbooks
    • lesson materials
    • supplies
    • printing
    • parking
    • equipment

A private career college:

  • may require you to pay a registration fee of not more than $500 before your training begins, which is applied to your tuition once you start your program
  • cannot require you to pay or accept payment of a registration fee until you have signed an Alberta Student Enrolment Contract
  • cannot accept payment of any other tuition or incidental fee before your training begins unless that payment is made by a third party that is pre-approved by the Government of Alberta (such as a student loan)

Please contact the Private Career Colleges Branch if you've been asked to pay tuition before your program start date.

Your college’s responsibilities

Before you enrol, your private career college must provide you with the following:

  • a copy of the career program outline
  • their rules and policies (in writing)
  • graduation and employment rates
  • a facility tour, including an opportunity to meet their instructors

Your private career college is not allowed to give you false or misleading information.

While you study

Know your private career college's student rules and policies. These cover everything from attendance to student conduct. If you don't know where to find them, ask your college for a copy.

Your responsibilities

You are responsible for completing your program, according to the terms of the contract you signed. This includes:

  • accessing supports available to you while you learn
  • discussing problems or concerns with your private career college before approaching government for a resolution

Your college’s responsibilities

Private career colleges are responsible for honouring the commitments made in your enrolment contract, and for following their student rules and policies. They must also meet their ongoing licence requirements. This includes:

  • refunding any tuition or other fees you've paid (including your registration fee) if you cancel your contract within 4 days of signing it
  • working with you to address problems or concerns with your program or instructors
  • providing you with written notice before your contract can be terminated

When you leave

Your responsibilities, and those of your private career college, don't end when you graduate, or if you leave your program. Be sure to:

  • ensure your tuition and other fees are fully paid
  • let your private career college know when you've found a job, and provide your new employer's name and contact information
  • start repaying your student loans, if you have them

Keep your transcript and credential documents in a safe place. If you lose these documents, contact your private career college for a replacement. The Government of Alberta does not keep transcripts for private career colleges.

Withdrawing from your program

If you choose to leave your private career college before finishing your program, you must work with your college to:

  • terminate your signed Alberta Student Enrolment Contract
  • process your tuition refund, if you have completed less than half of your program
  • address any problems or concerns you may have with your college or its instructors

You cancel your Alberta Student Enrolment Contract by:

  • providing written notification to the institution
  • verifying that it has been received by the institution
  • notifying your funding source, if you have student loans

Your Alberta Student Enrolment Contract is terminated on the day the college receives the written notice.

If you have concerns that you were unable to resolve with your college, you have 6 months from your last day of school to file a complaint.

When a private career college terminates your contract

Private career colleges set their own rules and policies about student suspensions or the conditions under which your Alberta Student Enrolment Contract can be terminated. If you don't already have a copy of your college's student policies, ask to see them.

If your private career college terminates your signed Alberta Student Enrolment Contract before you complete your program, they must:

  • cancel your signed contract in writing
  • process your tuition refund, if you have completed less than half of your program
  • provide you with a copy of their rules and policies upon request

If you have a concern about your contract termination, talk to your private career college first. If you’re unable to reach a resolution with your college, you have 6 months from your last day of school to file a complaint.

You’re also required to notify your student loan provider if your contract is terminated.

Your college’s responsibilities

When you graduate

Your private career college will provide you with a credential and transcript if you:

  • completed your program's requirements
  • paid your fees

The college may withhold these documents if you have outstanding fees when you graduate.

Your job search

Your private career college may provide job search assistance after you graduate, though it is not a requirement. Use alis job search resources to help you get started.

Your college will also contact you to see if you found a job. They need to report graduate employment rates every year as part of their licensing requirements. They are also required to maintain up-to-date information on their students for annual reporting and compliance purposes.

College closures

If your private career college closes while you are completing your program, they must:

  • cancel your Alberta Student Enrolment Contract OR
  • make appropriate arrangements for you to complete your program

If your college closes before you complete your program, please contact the Private Career Colleges branch.