A Pilot Study of Drayton Valley’s Zero-Fee Tuition Program

Matt Ormandy, Alexa Ferdinands, Autumn Nesdoly, Maria Mayan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


This qualitative pilot study introduces and reflects on early development and implementation of the Zero Fee Tuition (ZFT) program in the rural, oil and gas town of Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada. This innovative, primarily municipally funded program, implemented in 2019, provides local students with up to $5,000 in free tuition for select post-secondary programs. Here we situate ZFT within higher education funding debates and other publicly funded tuition assistance programs in North America. ZFT is then put into conversation with a typology of tuition assistance Promise programs in the United States, framing ZFT as a last dollar, place-based, and universal program. Implications for such programs are explored in the context of Canadian post-secondary education. We conclude by drawing implications from our pilot examination of ZFT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity College Journal of Research and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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