Adult Basic Education Center - Part Time Program

English as a second language (ESL) instruction at ECC is for all non-native English speakers from any language, group, or nationality. Instruction includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking and is conducted entirely in English. Classroom instruction and college support services provide immigrant students the opportunity to progress toward self-sufficiency and economic success. 

To be eligible to enroll in classes, adult learners must be at least 16 years of age. They cannot be enrolled or be required to be enrolled in high school. Individuals less than 18 years old will be required to provide documentation showing that they are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in high school under state law.
 Any adult learner who resides in the state of Illinois and is not on a limited visa is eligible to enroll in ABEC’s free classes. Elgin Community College accepts all individuals regardless of immigration status. Individuals on temporary visas (e.g., student, visitor, or au pair) are not eligible to enroll in the free program due to their visa restrictions on receiving federally funded services. There is a tuition-based program for language learners who are on these restricted visas.
 Interested adult learners need to come to building K or go online to to begin the application process. Required placement testing allows adult learners to be enrolled into the appropriate levels for their needs. An orientation to the program provides adult learners more information about the program and allows them to ask questions they may have. 

Classes are offered at the college and other in district locations. Online options are also available. These courses are not applicable toward any associate degree or vocational certificate.

Stevens Amendment (FY24): Approximately $718,727 (40%) of the Illinois Adult Education and Literacy Program cost at Elgin Community College is federally funded under Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.

Beginning ESL Instruction

The purpose of these courses is to help English language learners to improve their reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills in English; improve their mathematics and basic technology skills; and acquire an understanding of their civic rights and responsibilities so that learners can be full participants in their community. Upon completion of the high beginning level, students may choose to exit the program or to transition to intermediate ESL instruction to work on career or academic readiness.

Intermediate ESL Instruction

The purpose of these classes is to equip students with the skills needed for career and academic readiness. Along with improving basic skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics, students will develop the academic and employability skills necessary to make the successful transition to college or to a career. Upon completion of the high intermediate levels, students may exit the program to pursue a high school equivalency certificate, enter a career/vocational training program, transition to advanced/academic ESL classes, or enter the workforce. An academic advisor is available to help students make the transition.

Advanced ESL Instruction

The purpose of these classes is to prepare students to enter college-level classes. Students who want to enroll in advanced ESL classes must meet with an ESL staff member and take the appropriate placement tests. Students in these levels focus on the academic reading, writing, speaking, listening, and technological skills needed to make the transition to college-level work.

Upon completion of the advanced levels, students are ready to enroll in college degree programs. Students who are interested in transitioning to college level programming are encouraged to take the College Transitions for ESL Learners course. Students interested in this course must receive a recommendation from faculty or staff in order to enroll. Students in this course are required to co-enroll in a transferable credit college class. Upon successful completion of, the College Transitions for ESL Learners course, in-district tuition for one three-credit-hour college class will be waived. Individuals must live or work in district to be eligible for the waiver.