ESL and Academic Upgrading Funding 

Alberta Works - Foundational Learning program (formerly Skills Investment Program) provides funding for Albertans in designated Full-Time and Part-Time programs. Advanced Education determines learner eligibility and may include Income Support and health benefits depending on full or part-time study status and a financial needs assessment.

ESL and Academic Upgrading

Alberta Works Information Sessions for winter term funding for new and continuing students are now closed.

  • Students attending ESL or Academic Upgrading who are currently receiving Alberta Works funding will continue to be eligible for their funding while completing courses online. Attendance will be based on instructor and program expectations while ensuring course objectives are met.  

  • Students who are unable to continue studies should contact the Student Awards and Financial Aid office at to discuss their situation.

  • Students approved by Alberta Works to receive Employment Insurance (EI) while attending ESL or Academic Upgrading should continue to report that they are in training while completing courses online. If students have any questions regarding their EI, Service Canada can provide the best information for an individual’s situation. The contact number for the EI Telephone Information Service is 1-800-206-7218. 

How to access funding for ESL and academic upgrading

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1. Determine your eligibility for funding

Get a head start exploring your eligibility for Alberta Works. If you can answer "yes" to all of the following questions, you may qualify for funding:

  • Are you planning to attend ESL or Academic Upgrading at NAIT?
  • Have you been out of high school for 12 consecutive months?
  • Do you have an Alberta address?
  • Are you a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or convention refugee?
  • Do you have limited financial resources?

For complete eligibility criteria and forms, you can visit Alberta Advanced Education, Financial Support for Training.

2. Apply and be accepted to NAIT

Academic Upgrading

You must apply, be accepted, and have enrolled in classes. To be considered a  full-time Academic Upgrading student, you are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 18 hours of instruction per week.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

You must have completed the NAIT ESL placement test. To be considered a full-time ESL student you are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 20 hours of instruction per week.

If you require a reduced course load

Alberta Works funded students requiring a reduced course load, due to a documented chronic or permanent disability, must have the appropriate approval from Alberta Human Services

3. Register in an Alberta Works Information Session

Sessions are organized into continuing and new student sessions. Please note that sessions for winter term are now closed.

Continuing Students – you are considered a continuing student if you have previously attended ESL or Academic Upgrading at NAIT and received Alberta Works funding within the previous 2 semesters. If you missed registering for a Continuing Student session, you can register for a New Student Session as long as seats are available.

You will receive a confirmation email upon registration. 

On Tuesdays,  emails will be sent to you from that include a web link to a brief online presentation as well as your Training Provider Information form. The presentation will include Alberta Works updates and tips for completing your application. 

New Students – You are considered a new student  if you are new to NAIT, or have attended NAIT but have not received Alberta Works funding within the previous 2 semesters.

Academic upgrading students must have enrolled in classes, and new ESL students must have completed the ESL Placement test to avoid being dropped and losing their seat.

If dropped from an information session, you will need to complete the requirements (enrol in academic upgrading/ESL Placement test) before registering again (if seats are available).

You will receive a confirmation email upon registration.

Two days prior to the session, you will receive a second email that includes a WebEx meeting code through Eventbrite. Please follow the instructions and attend the session at your scheduled time. Ineligible students will receive an email advising of their ineligibility. 

4. Attend an information session

As part of the Alberta Works Learner Income Support application process, a Training Provider Information (TPI) form is required. Once you have attended the Alberta Works information sessions, Student Awards and Financial Aid will email you the TPI form. use the training dates from the TPI on your funding application. 

Students who register and attend an information session will receive a Training Provider Information form that must be submitted with the funding application. However, the government determines funding eligibility. 

If you arrive late or fail to attend the information session, you will not receive a Training Provider Information form and will have to re-register for a later date (if seats are still available).

5. Apply for funding

You may apply for Alberta Works funding no sooner than five months before the start date of the training. You can apply online at My Alberta Supports or print and complete the paper application at Financial Support for Training.

  • Apply early as it can take up to 8-weeks to assess an application. Applying late may result in funding not being approved in time.

  •  If you apply online, you are not required to print and mail anything. All documents or forms required, including the Training Provider Information form, will need to be scanned and uploaded through your  My Alberta Supports portal.

  • If applying on paper, you will need to mail the original application along with any other required forms and the Training Provider Information form as outlined on the website.

  • If you are having any difficulties completing the application (either online or on paper) you can refer to the Learner Income Support Application Instructions (found under How to Apply) or call 780-644-9992.

6. Inform NAIT if your funding is approved

Once approved scan and email your Funding Decision Letter to  Financial Aid will review and determine if a sponsorship Indicator can be applied to your account.

If you plan to scan and email your Funding Decision letter to NAIT, please note it can take up to 5 days to be processed.
Academic Upgrading students must inform NAIT of funding before the tuition deadline to avoid being dropped for non-payment.

ESL students: Inform NAIT of funding before the first day of classes.

7. While attending NAIT

Alberta Works Contact Information

For questions regarding applying for Alberta Works funding, contact Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992.

For information about your application after you have applied, contact the Learner Income Support Office (LISO)at 1-800-222-6485 or in Edmonton 780 427 3722

Learner Income Support Office Mailing Address:  Learner Income Support Office, Box 17000, Station Main, Edmonton, AB T5J 4R4

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