Quest, a top-ranked private Canadian university, has dramatically reduced tuition to increase access for Canadian students
WALK INTO QUEST UNIVERSITY in Squamish, BC, and you will notice right away that this is not your typical post-secondary education facility. This is a space where innovation and creative thinking live and breathe. There are no lecture halls and no teaching theatres, just small rooms, each with a large board table encircled by 21 chairs.
“Right from the beginning, Quest was different,” says Quest’s Board Chair, Arthur Willms. “There was always a great deal of interaction between students and professors and among students. This dialogue creates questioning and creativity in real time with students coming together to discuss the issues.”
Quest’s founder, Dr. David Strangway, who was president at UBC for many years, collaborated with other founders who came from research universities like UBC and McGill. They wanted to get away from the model involving enlisting experts to lecture in large theatre spaces while students write furiously, hoping what they record will be on the exam. The new model, instead, would be based on the popular adage:
Tell me and I will forget,
Teach me and I remember
Involve me and I will learn.
This ground-breaking approach to post-secondary education began as an experiment, but today, Quest is one of Canada’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, scoring number one in eight categories among all Canadian universities in the 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement.
While Quest offers one degree: a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences, the degree allows students to choose specializations that lead to a tailored education. Each student is counseled to determine their own specialization or “question”.
“During the whole period they are developing their keystone question, they are always being challenged by their professors and fellow students, like they would in a graduate program,” Willms says. “They say graduate studies are where you really own your education for the first time, but here that is the case from the beginning.”
Quest’s mission to reinvent undergraduate liberal arts and sciences has manifested in an innovative philosophy and novel curriculum that gives learners ownership over their education in brand new ways.
“We believe in teaching skills that work in the real world,” says Willms. “We believe in preparing students for any endeavour they choose—from graduate school to professional programs, and from traditional careers to independent paths. We offer an environment of intellectual rigour and personal enrichment, where students help design their own education and delve deep into topics they’re passionate about.”
The next innovation was that instead of six or seven courses at once, Quest designed a block program, so students can study one subject at a time intensively for 3.5 weeks before moving on to a new subject.
“This provides a deep dive and enables students to focus on the subject at hand instead of dividing their time between courses,” Willms says.
From this came the Leaders in Elite Athletics and Performance (LEAP) program, a unique program that supports students who have already started careers and allows them the freedom to pursue their education and career development simultaneously. To qualify for the program, which includes a substantive scholarship, students must be an elite or sponsored athlete or be an accomplished artist.
Today, Quest’s LEAP program is home to a number of Olympic level athletes, as well as a film actor, an international speaker, and World Cup champion mountain bikers and skiiers.
This year, 46% of Quest’s students are from the United States, 30% are Canadian and 24% are from 22 other countries. “We want to make post-secondary education more accessible to Canadian students, our natural audience,” Willms says. “In light of that goal and the pressure COVID has placed on prospective learners, we are pleased to announce a 40% tuition reduction at Quest—the deepest tuition drop among private institutions in Canada.”
Starting Fall 2022, students who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents will have their tuition adjusted from $35,000 to $21,000, and those receiving Quest Financial Aid will also have their individual award amounts (scholarship, award, bursary) proportionally adjusted.
“We looked at a number of factors as we examined our tuition rates: affordability, the Sea-to-Sky community that we live and work in, and of course financial impacts of the pandemic,” adds Willms. “We want to make Quest’s education more accessible to Canada’s next generation of leaders.”
Quest has also introduced a new brand and strategy that provides a sharp, innovative look to propel Quest forward in the broader university marketplace for years to come. The new logo retains the mountain idea in the original logo but connects it more deeply to Squamish by depicting Siám’ Smánit (otherwise known as Stawamus Chief Mountain).
“The Chief represents resilience, strength, and endurance, and the fissures in the rock represent how you can learn at Quest, how you can chart your own path and develop your own education program for yourself,” Willms says.
Ready to explore a new future at Quest? Prospective students are encouraged to book meetings with university admissions counsellors to learn more about extensive scholarship and bursary application opportunities, Quest’s innovative educational program, government loan programs and application procedures.
Visit QUESTU.CA today to learn more