BC Guide for Independent Schools

Grants to Independent Schools

This section includes:

Grants to Group 1 and 2 Schools

Only Group 1 and 2 independent schools are eligible to receive government grants.

Grants include:

Operating Grant (Independent Schools Act (ISA), section 12 (PDF, 89KB))
This is the primary grant given to Group 1 and 2 independent schools. The grant is determined by the number of FTE equivalent and partially eligible students enrolled in the school. It is to be used solely for operational expenditures. Distributed Learning (DL) schools receive operating grants in accordance with their group classification and based on the provincial public school DL funding rate. DL schools may only operate with a signed agreement with the Minister.

Special Purpose Grant (ISA, section 13 (PDF, 89KB))
From time to time the Minister of Education may issue Special Purpose Grants. When the grant is available to all school districts for operational expenditures, Group 1 and 2 independent schools will be included at their respective percentages.

Learning Improvement Fund
The Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) was established to assist boards of education to address class composition challenges in the Province’s most vulnerable classrooms. Legislation establishing the LIF was part of government’s response to the Supreme Court decision concerning Bills 27 and 28. This grant is not available to independent schools.

Kindergarten Full-Day Funding
Group 1 and 2 independent schools may claim funding, on the Ministry's Student Data Collection Form 1701 (PDF, 64KB), at their respective percentages for eligible individual kindergarten students who require a full day Ministry approved program for:

  • Moderate or High Intervention special needs students,
  • English Language Learner students, or
  • First Nations students.

Special Education Grants
Group 1 and 2 schools may claim students for supplementary special needs funding on Form 1701 in the September and February data collections. These grants are a specific type of special purpose grant. They are issued to assist the school in meeting the expenses associated with adapting or modifying the educational programs of students who qualify for special education grants.

Homeschooling Grant (ISA, section 10(3) (PDF, 89KB))
Group 1 and 2 independent schools receive a grant of $175 for each homeschooled child registered by September 30.

French Grant
The federal government issues, through the British Columbia Ministry of Education, limited funding for French second language instruction. By means of an agreement between the Ministry of Education and the Federation of Independent School Associations (FISA), FISA distributes the French grants to schools.

Calculation of Independent School Grants

Background Information
The district operating grant refers to the per-student operating grant amount issued to the school district in which the independent school is located, as determined by the Minister of Education. It excludes the funding that districts receive for capital costs.

The district operating grant consists of the per-pupil base allocation plus supplementary amounts added to produce the per-student district operating grant amount. Supplementary amounts are included for unique student needs (including learning disabilities, learning assistance, speech and language services, mild intellectual disabilities, English Language Learning, aboriginal education, and adult education programs), enrolment decline (greater than one percent per year), salary differentials, transportation and housing, and unique geographic factors. The supplementary factors account for the difference in school district operating grant amounts.

  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) eligible students enrolled in an independent school is a key component to calculating school grants. A full grant is paid for each full-time student who is enrolled for a minimum of 600 hours from July 1 to May 15 of the school year. Partial grants are paid for eligible partial students who receive less than 600 hours of instruction.

The designated percentages are as follows (Independent School Regulation, section 4):

Group 1 = 50 percent of the local district's per-student grant amount
Group 2 = 35 percent of the local district's per-student grant amount

(The group designation is determined by the comparison of the independent school's average per student operating costs with the local school district's average per student operating grant amount. If the independent school's per student operating costs exceeds the district's per student grant amount, then the school is designated Group 2).

Each independent school's grant is calculated by multiplying:


To assist independent schools in their budgeting process for the next year, the Office of the Inspector of Independent Schools generally informs independent schools in the Spring of the per-student estimated grant amount by school district for the next school year.

Payment and Use of Grants

The operational grant is transferred electronically to the bank account of the independent school authority. Please see the Common Disbursement System (CDS) to access information and how to apply online. The four instalment dates and amounts are (Ministerial Order 44/91, Grant Payments Order, section 1) (PDF, 12KB):

  1. October 31 - 20 percent
  2. January 31 - 30 percent
  3. March 31 - 20 percent
  4. June 30 - 30 percent (final adjusted payment)
  • The October (20 percent) grant amount is based on the previous school year's (June) Eligible Student (ES) Audit numbers (unless there are reasonable grounds to believe the current school year's enrolment will not exceed 50 percent of the previous year).
  • The January (30 percent) and March (20 percent) grants are based on the reported September 30 student enrolment numbers.
  • The June (30 percent) payment is based on the May 15 Eligible Student (ES) Audit numbers.

Homeschooling grant payments accompany the operational grant payments.

For new independent schools receiving operational grants for the first time, the first grant installment will be on January 31 (this will be 50 percent - October and January combined).

The independent school grant can only be used to pay for operating expenses (ISA, section 12 (3)).

The grant to the independent school may not exceed the operating costs of the school (ISA, section 12 (4)).

Independent School Distributed Learning (DL)

For schools years 2012/13 and 2013/14, Group 1 Independent DL Schools will receive 62 percent of the DL Public School flat rate and Group 2 Independent DL Schools will receive 70 percent of the Group 1 Independent DL School Rate (43.3% of the DL Public School Flat rate).  Please see page 3 of the Funding Rates for Independent Schools 2012/13 - Preliminary document (PDF, 154KB) for details. DL operational grant payments for eligible students are paid once the student is reported and becomes actively engaged in the course.

Kindergarten to Grade 9:

  • paid 1 FTE based on September 30 count
  • receive .5 FTE based on February 15 new student enrolment
  • receive .33 FTE based on May 15 new student enrolment

Grade 10 to 12:

  • grant for courses is at .125 of 62 percent or 43.4 percent of district per student operating grant amount
  • paid per course based on September, January, May and July new course enrolment

Special Education Grant Levels and Specific Categories which are a specific type of special purpose grant.

Withholding, Reduction or Cancellation of Grant

A school may refuse to accept grant payments at any time, or, if a school ceases to comply with the requirements of the Act, the grant payments may be withheld, reduced or discontinued by the Inspector. In such a case, the Inspector's decision may be appealed to the Minister of Education, whose decision is final (ISA, section 12 (5) and (6)).