Membership in the BC Transfer System
The BC Transfer System is made up of BC public institutions, some BC private institutions and two out-of-province institutions (Yukon College and Athabasca University). Membership is based on approval through a recognized quality assurance process and is described in detail below.
All BC public institutions are automatically admitted to membership in the BC Transfer System. BCCAT bases this admission decision on the provincial oversight and rigorous quality assessment processes described below.
- All public institutions have been authorized through Acts of the provincial legislature. The mission, mandate, responsibilities and governance of public institutions are specified principally in the University Act, and the College and Institute Act of the BC Legislature, as well as in certain institution-specific Acts. Establishment by legislation is sometimes referred to as receiving a charter. The provincial government provides the majority of funding and exercises regulatory oversight for all public institutions.
- All public institutions are subject to an annual accountability framework. All public post-secondary institutions in BC receive the majority of their funding from the provincial government, and are subject to a detailed accountability framework every year, conducted through the provincial ministry responsible for post-secondary education. The provincial post-secondary accountability framework emphasizes institutional performance and quality through the establishment and measurement of key performance indicators.
- All degree programs must be approved through the processes established under the Degree Authorization Act and undergo rigorous quality assessment processes. The BC Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB) is a provincial Board appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education for the purpose of assessing the quality of proposed degree programs at public and private institutions in BC, and recommending approval (or not) to the Minister. The DQAB can conduct both institutional and program reviews using a set of rigorous academic criteria and processes including peer review of degree proposals.
Private institutions' membership is described in two separate sections because the mechanisms for inclusion have changed over the years. Because of this, private institutions have been admitted to the system in different ways.
- Private Institutions admitted historically by The University Presidents' Council
Prior to 2004, admission to the BC Transfer System was through an approval process managed by the University Presidents' Council (now called the Research Universities' Council of British Columbia or RUCBC). The policy and process involved an evaluation of the private institution to assess its suitability for inclusion in the transfer system. Four private institutions were approved and admitted to the BC Transfer System in this way:
- Private Institutions with DQAB Program Approval
Degree programs, including associate degrees, in private institutions that have undergone the rigorous quality assessment processes of the Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB), and that have been authorized by the Minister of Advanced Education (i.e. programs given "Ministerial Consent") for delivery, are eligible for articulation within the BC Transfer System. Note:
- this approval extends only to the authorized degree program(s); it does not apply to non-degree or other programs at the private institution; and
- approval to articulate does not guarantee that transfer credit will be awarded by receiving institutions; and
- transfer agreements may not be reciprocal: reverse credit is not guaranteed.
Members admitted by virtue of their DQAB approved program(s) sign a "Letter of Assurance" committing them to adherence to the Principles and Guidelines for Transfer and to the norms and standards of the BC Transfer System. Membership can be suspended or revoked. For more information, see BCCAT's policy, Membership of Private Institutions in the BC Transfer System.
Yukon College, a publicly funded institution, is a member of the BC Transfer System through an agreement between the BC provincial government and the Yukon territorial government.
Athabasca University, a publicly funded institution, is a member of the BC Transfer System through our policy Membership of Alberta Institutions in the BC Transfer System, which was approved by Council in 2012.
In future, BCCAT may recognize other quality assurance processes as a basis for inclusion of public or private institutions in BC or institutions from another province or territory.