Vancouver Island is nearly two hours away by car ferry ride from Vancouver on the mainland. Victoria is the provincial capital of British Columbia and is on the Island.
Vancouver Island is also the home to three public universities:
- The University of Victoria is a well-established campus-based public university, ranked #11 globally and first in Canada among universities less than 50 years old by the Times Higher Education. It also has a long history of distance education offerings.
- Royal Roads University was a former military college and has been accredited as a public university since 1995. It is unique in that it was set up as a blended learning institution, with students taking a large proportion of their studies online, but also usually with a one semester residential component.
- Vancouver Island University was converted from the former Malaspina University College to a full four year university in 2008. The main campus is in Nanaimo, but it also has satellite campus in several other towns on the island.
There are two provincially funded colleges on the island:
- Camosun College in Victoria
- North Island College (with multiple, small campuses across the island and on the opposite mainland), headquartered in Courtenay. North Island College also has a long history in distance education, at different times running a boat or a bus to isolated communities. It is one of the two colleges in BC that helped develop the remote lab system now being used in several U.S. states.