The new cost of going back to high school

Budget pressures force Camosun to start charging fees for some high-school-equivalency courses

Student rep Sahra MacLean is concerned about budget issues forcing fees on adults returning to Camosun to get their high school  education.

Student rep Sahra MacLean is concerned about budget issues forcing fees on adults returning to Camosun to get their high school education.

Budget pressures force Camosun to start charging fees for some high-school-equivalency courses

Adults planning on going back to class to complete their high school diploma may soon have to pay up.

This fall, Camosun College will begin charging hundreds of dollars in tuition on some high-school-equivalency courses, including all science classes.

It won’t be impossible for students to obtain their Dogwoods at Camosun for free since basic math and English courses will still be offered at no cost. The college will maintain about 1,700 of these free spaces — 500 more than mandated by the province. But the concern is that some of those available seats will no longer include courses needed to pursue post-secondary education.

“By just saying we’re offering x-number of seats, it’s not really addressing the issue,” said Sahra MacLean, external executive for the Camosun College Student Society and a B.C. executive with the Canadian Federation of Students. “It’s a quality over quantity issue.”

Grade 11 and 12 equivalency courses in chemistry, physics and biology, for example, will now cost $361.80 or $440.10, depending on the course. Last year, equivalency courses were tuition free.

John Boraas, the dean of Camosun’s school of access, said the decision wasn’t his first choice for how he would have liked the school to have responded to its financial pressures.

“It’s not a path that we’re absolutely thrilled about,” he said.

The school is in the midst of converting the courses — Boraas said they offer more than the standard high school curriculum — into university transferable courses. For the time being they remain non-transferable. M

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