Adult Learning and Frequently Asked Questions

Vista Virtual School students can work at any time, and in any place. This means that you, as an adult student, will have the flexibility to get the education you deserve!

We help students of all ages achieve success in their academic careers. Registering with Vista Virtual School gives you access to a variety of courses to complete your high school diploma, improve your high school marks, learn a new skill, or fulfill post-secondary requirements.

If you have questions or difficulties filling out our registration form, please contact Vista Virtual School Support via email at vvsadults@phrd.ab.ca, or by phoning 1-855-974-5333 x5317.

 

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Below are Frequently Asked Questions for adult learners, including Skills Investment Bursary (SIB) information. Additional common questions (and answers) are found under Student & Parent Info in our Common Questions section.

Am I Eligible to Register with Vista Virtual School?

To register with Vista Virtual School, you must be:

  • A resident of Alberta. (Though you may temporarily reside elsewhere.); and
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

You will need to provide official documentation proving your citizenship upon registration. This might include your Canadian birth certificate, passport, citizenship card, or landed immigrant card. You may also be asked to provide documentation proving your Alberta residency.

How do I Determine if I am an Adult Student?

Alberta Education defines an adult student as any student who is 20 years of age or older on September 1, of the current school year.

What can I Expect from my Instruction in a Vista Virtual School Course?

Vista Virtual School courses are accessed online, with students working through content and assignments on their own schedule—it is a very independent way of learning, with teachers available by phone or email during regular school hours to answer specific questions about the course content.

Teachers are very happy to answer your questions, and may have additional videos or other resources to help you understand the course content; however, we do not undertake individual instruction or tutorials with students.

Can I Still Register if I Did my Schooling Outside of Alberta?

Yes, you can register to upgrade with Vista Virtual School as long as you are now a resident of Alberta. In your registration application, please upload a copy of your high school transcript and/or applicable post-secondary marks for review by our Academic Counselors.

It is also helpful for you to create an Alberta Student Number (ASN) and include it in your registration. Any course you complete with Vista Virtual School will be reported on your Alberta high school transcript.

Do I Need Prerequisites?

As an adult student, you do not require prerequisite courses, but you need to demonstrate that you have the prerequisite skills. Especially if you have completed upgrading in a college program or a high school outside of Alberta. All transcripts from your academic work should be included with your registration.

You may be asked to show your prerequisite skills through a placement exercise. By placing you in the best course for your skill level as demonstrated through a placement exercise, we are better able to help you succeed in your course.

If you do not have the recommended prerequisite for a course, please contact our Academic Counselors at vvsadults@phrd.ab.ca to discuss your options and to assist you in selecting the best course for your current skill level.

How Long do I Have to Complete my Course?

If you paid for your course yourself or it is funded through a third party, you have one year from the date of enrollment to complete your course. An adult student may also have a maximum of four (4) three-month extensions for an additional fee.

  • Extensions may be granted with teacher approval, upon presentation of a reasonable completion plan.

If your course is funded through the Skills Investment Bursary (SIB), you have 20 weeks to complete your course and must finish by your Session End Date.

Is there Financial Assistance? What is the Skills Investment Bursary (SIB)?

Adult students upgrading by distance education may be eligible for the Alberta Works Skills Investment Bursary (SIB). The Skills Investment Bursary is administered by the Alberta Students Finance Board and Alberta Human Services. A key goal of this program is to increase opportunities for Albertans to gain the knowledge and skills needed to obtain sustainable employment, increase their incomes, and reduce the need for government support.

  • Eligible students may receive up to $5,000 per year and—as this is a bursary not a loan—you do not pay it back.
  • Applications can take 8-12 weeks for approval through Alberta Works and students cannot start the course(s) until the funding is received by Vista Virtual School (i.e., the Session Start Date).
  • Students are only allowed to enrol in one SIB-funded course at a time.
  • Students must submit their completed SIB application form to VVS before they send it to the Learner Income Support Office. Only mail your SIB application after you have received training provider information from us.
  • Students are given 20 weeks to complete the course(s) and must submit assignments according to a set timeline. Please review the Attendance Practice for Alberta Works Funded Students.
  • Students must log into their course, submit their first gradable assignment within the first week, or a first warning is issued. A second warning is generated if a student falls more than 10 per cent behind within the first two weeks.
  • If a student falls more than 20 per cent behind within the first four weeks, they will be withdrawn from the course and funding returned for other students to use. If a student falls to more than 40 per cent behind the timeline at any point in the course, they may be removed from the program.
  • If you are not successful in your first course, funding for the second course may be returned to the funding pool for other students to use.

More information can be accessed on the Alberta Human Services website.

Skills Investment Bursary (SIB) Session Dates

How do I Apply for the Skills Investment Bursary (SIB)?

Skills Investment Bursary (SIB) Application Instructions:

  1. Register online with Vista Virtual School:
    • Answer Yes to Are you applying for financial assistance through the Skills Investment Bursary with Alberta Works?
    • Once your registration is confirmed, Vista Virtual School will email you the information you require to complete your SIB Application Form.
    • Note: You can only be enrolled in one SIB-funded course at a time.
  2. Complete the SIB Application form and email it to vvsupport@phrd.ab.ca.
    • You can download the Skills Investment Bursary Application via the Alberta Works website. We recommend you complete the PDF Application (Skills Investment Bursary Application for Part-Time Study (EMP5571).
    • Students must submit their completed SIB application form to VVS before they send it to the Learner Income Support Office (LISO). Only mail your SIB application after you have received training provider information from us.
  3. Vista Virtual School will complete the Training Provider Information (TPI) form and email it to you. You will be required to print the TPI form to add to your SIB Application.
  4. Submit your bursary application to LISO. This can be done by either:
    • Mailing the application and supporting documents to:
           Learner Income Support Office
           Box 17000, Station Main
           Edmonton, AB  T5J 4R4; or
    • Applying online Note: If you apply online, you will be required to print and mail the signed Declaration and Acknowledgement Form (from the My Applications page of your myAlbertaSupports account), along with your Training Provider Information form.
    • Note: You need to submit your completed SIB Application to LISO as soon as possible, to ensure funding is received in time for your session start date.
    • You may not pay up front and seek reimbursement after applying for a SIB.
  5. Await a decision. Alberta Works will review your application and notify you of its decision. This review may take up to 12 weeks. Once you have been approved for funding, you will receive a Funding Decision letter from Alberta Works
  6. After you are approved for funding, Vista Virtual School will enrol you in your course(s) on your approved session start date, and ship your required course materials.

Skills Investment Bursary (SIB) Session Dates

To inquire about the status of your SIB Application, please contact the Learner Income Support Office (LISO).

Attendance Practice for Alberta Works (SIB) Funded Students

Students funded through the Part-Time Skills Investment Bursary (SIB) through Alberta Works
must meet Alberta Human Services’ minimum policy requirements for attendance. In order to
meet attendance requirements in a distance learning environment, Alberta Works funded
students are expected to complete and submit coursework on a regular basis in order to
indicate attendance.

Vista Virtual School (VVS) students funded through Alberta Works are expected to complete
courses within 20 weeks. In order to indicate attendance, work must be submitted in each
course each week. Timelines for assignment submission will be provided upon enrollment;
students are expected to adhere to their timeline. Medical documentation is required to
substantiate missed deadlines.

To keep students informed, VVS will provide a progress report to funded adult students each
week to show their work to date in a course.

  • Students must log into their course, submit their first gradable assignment within the first week, or a first warning is issued. A second warning is generated if a student falls more than 10% behind within the first two weeks.
  • If a student falls more than 20% behind within the first four weeks, they will be withdrawn from the course and funding returned for other students to use. If a student falls to more than 40% behind the timeline at any point in the course, they may be removed from the program.
  • If you are not successful in your first course, funding for the second course may be returned to the funding pool for other students to use.

If a student falls behind in expected submission of their coursework, disciplinary actions will be
taken according to the following schedule:

  • No assignments submitted within the first week – 1st warning;
  • Student is 10% behind expected course completion in the first four weeks – 2nd warning; and
  • Student falls 20% behind in the first four weeks – Expulsion from the course and SIB program.

or, at any point in the course after the first four weeks:

  • 20% behind expected course completion – 1st warning;
  • 30% behind expected course completion – 2nd warning; or
  • 40% behind expected course completion – Expulsion from the course and SIB program.

To help mitigate the risk of students being withdrawn from courses, all funded adult students will be
advised of and must agree to the Attendance Policy for Funded Adult Students prior to being
accepted to a VVS course.

Note: VVS does not accept new SIB applications from previous SIB students who did not complete their funded course. Other schools and colleges may be able to accept SIB students who did not finish previous SIB funded courses.

Reference:

Alberta Works Attendance Policy Requirements

Alberta Works Part-Time Training (Skills Investment Bursary)

How can a Third Party Make Payment on my Behalf?

If a third party (WCB, Band, etc.) is paying for your course, please register online and answer Yes to Will a third party be paying for this registration?, Vista Virtual School will email you an authorization of payment letter for you to forward to your third party contact. Some third parties have accounts that Vista Virtual School can invoice, while others will need to send us the funding by cheque or credit card. Once the third party authorization and funding is received, we will enrol you in your course(s).

Where do I get my Textbooks/Materials From?

As an adult student, Vista Virtual School provides you the option to purchase textbooks and materials directly through us. If you choose this option, the cost of textbooks may be less than other sources because the cost is averaged out between used and new textbooks; but as such, you may receive a used textbook in reusable condition. You can choose to purchase textbooks and other materials from any available source.

Please note: there are no refunds for any adult textbook or materials purchased through Vista Virtual School. See the Refund Policy for more information.

 

Refund Policy

Refunds for Adult Students

Registration Fees
Application declined by VVSFull refund
Application cancelled at student’s request before the registration is processed and any course materials are shippedFull refund
Registration withdrawn within 45 days of enrolment date with zero to three
gradeables submitted
Refund less $50 processing fee
Registration withdrawn within 45 days of enrolment date, but with more than
three gradeables submitted (to a maximum of five lessons or assignments)
Refund less 50% of registration fee
Registration withdrawn after 45 days of enrolmentNo refund
Required Instructional Materials
Application declined by VVSFull refund
Application cancelled at student’s request before the registration is processed and any course materials are shippedFull refund
Textbooks and materials (unused and in resealable condition) returned after registration cancelled or withdrawn within 45 days of enrolmentRefund less 10% restocking fee
Textbooks (except if registration is cancelled/withdrawn within 45 days enrolment)No refund for adult students
Help—my Question is Not Listed!

For more information, see our Policies & Procedures section or our Common Questions section; you can also contact us at vvsadults@phrd.ab.ca, or give us a call at 1-855-974-5333 Ext. 5317.