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2023 - Adult Education enrollment soars at Elgin Community College

Tags: Academics | Accomplishment
Published 09/20/2023
ECC adult basic education program students

ECC adult basic education program students

During National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, which runs from September 18 through 22, Elgin Community College celebrates the enrollment increase in its adult education programs for the fall semester. Enrollment totals surpassed the fall 2022 numbers for both English as a second language (ESL) and adult basic and secondary education classes (ABE/ASE).

“Adult education provides programming that helps adults increase their English language proficiency, prepare for the State of Illinois High School Diploma exam, get family-sustaining jobs, and participate in their community,” said Elizabeth Hobson, dean of adult basic education. “Recognizing adult education and literacy week is important because these programs lift individuals, families, and communities.”

ESL enrollment is up 33.2%, with 1,660 students, and ABE/ASE enrollment is up 11.5% at 261 students. As registration continues, the division expects the combined enrollment to reach more than 2,000 students this fall.

Hobson emphasized unemployment and immigration as two of the many possible reasons for the enrollment increase. “We are seeing an influx of students who are unemployed,” Hobson said. She explained that as unemployment goes up, adult education enrollment tends to as well. “Second, due to events around the world, we are receiving asylees from various countries, many of whom have limited English language proficiency, so we have a growing demand for beginning-level ESL classes.”

ECC is one of more than 72 adult education providers offering programs funded through the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) that improve and expand the nation’s available pipeline of workers by assisting those who lack the educational requirements to achieve gainful employment in today’s increasingly high-tech, global job market.

More than 36 million adults nationwide, including 1.2 million here in Illinois, lack basic literacy skills that limit their ability to advance in education and at work. ECC provides its community with five adult basic education programs: basic citizenship skills, ESL, State of Illinois High School Diploma (GED/HISET) test prep, integrated career & academic preparation system (ICAPS), and transitions bridge classes.

ECC offers adult education courses at four locations in Carpentersville, Elgin, Hanover Park, and Streamwood.

For more information on adult education at ECC, visit