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IECBA Admission of Foreign Students

Adopted: November 19, 1990

Amended June 22, 2010, September 2015


The Board supports the right of access to public education for children of parents who are temporary residents, or whose parents reside in a foreign country, if the child has a right to access basic education in Alberta.  


In order to be eligible for fully funded public education in Alberta, non-resident children often have the right to access education if the parent or legal guardian is lawfully admitted to Canada, even on a temporary basis. Alberta Education considers the provision of instructional grants to school districts on a case-by-case basis based on formal documentation provided by the parent or legal guardian.


A temporary resident is defined as a person who has been issued a student study permit and registered in a provincially recognized education program, issued an employment authorization to work temporarily in Canada (temporary foreign worker), has filed a refugee claim, has been issued a temporary resident permit or has diplomatic status in Canada.  A temporary resident does not include tourists or parents in Canada for six months or less, or parents without a valid study or work visa.

A legal guardian is defined as an individual, who upon application to the courts, has been designated as the child’s guardian under a written guardianship order or as set out in Alberta’s Family Law Act.


  1. In order to determine whether or not the child is eligible to register in a school operated by the Board, residence status of the parent, or legal guardian, shall be used.
  2. In order to determine a child’s eligibility to access public education, the child must be, as of September 1st of each school year, 6 years of age or older and younger than 19 years of age, and be a child of an individual lawfully admitted for permanent or temporary residence in Alberta or Canada.
  3. In order to determine if a child is eligible for access to Kindergarten, the child must be 4-6 years of age on or before March 1st prior to the next school year.
  4. In order to determine a child’s eligibility for early childhood services, the child must be formally assessed with a severe disability/delay, mild to moderate disability/delay, or as gifted and talented, must be younger than 6 years of age as of September 1st of each school year, meet provincial coding special education criteria, and is a child of an individual lawfully admitted for permanent or temporary residence in Alberta or Canada.
  5. If the child is a stepchild, adopted or of a common-law partner, and the legal guardian is lawfully admitted, the child shall have a right of access to education.
  6. When determining eligibility, the school principal, or designate, shall request a copy of the parent and child passports and the parent’s valid work or study permit.  If the parent has applied for permanent residence with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, a copy of that application can also be requested to support eligibility to access an education program.
  7. Exchange students attending our schools on an approved reciprocal student exchange program shall be exempt from this policy.
  8. If the child does not have the right to access public education in Alberta, the Board may charge an annual tuition fee to the parent to enroll their child in school.
  9. The Board of Trustees determines the student tuition fee on an annual and cost-recovery basis.
  10. Foreign student tuition fees are to be paid to the Student Services office. All fees must be paid in full prior to admission to any District school. Such fees will be forwarded to the Associate of Business and Finance for crediting to the facility of attendance.
  11. 50% of the tuition fee may be refunded if the student only attends the first semester or any part thereof.



Legal Reference:

Alberta School Act: Sections,8(1)(b), 46, 60.3a, 61.1

Guidelines to Section 8 Of the School Act (2005)

IECB International Student/Student Exchange Program

Access and Funding for International Students in Alberta: Frequently Asked Questions (2009). Alberta Education.


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