English as a Second Language (ESL) - Southwestern Illinois College

The Adult Education Department offers basic English language instruction through our ESL classes for adult community members, 16 years of age or older, whose primary language is not English. ESL classes improve a student’s English skills in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing for the purpose of community participation, employment, or to further educational opportunities in the U.S. We welcome non-native English speakers from any language family or nationality.

ESL classes

Part-time ESL classes are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Students will be placed in the appropriate level class(es) based on pre-test. Our friendly classes assist immigrant students in progressing toward self-sufficiency and economic success.

Times and Locations

Daytime and evening courses are offered at the Belleville and Granite City campuses and Fairmont City Library. Each year we offer two 8-week sessions in Fall semester and two 8-week sessions in Spring semester. Shorter Summer classes are also offered.


Our classes are offered free to eligible students through Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as administered by the Illinois Community College Board. Students enrolled in the ESL program will be required to take a test periodically to document their progress with English.

Who Can Attend

Our classes are available to adult community members living in the state of Illinois, 16 years of age or older, whose primary language is not English, and who qualify for our services based on testing criteria.
ESL classes are not intended for tourists, but for those who have come to the USA to live.

Per ICCB (Illinois Community College Board) regulations, International students (F visa), visitors to the U.S., and Au Pairs (J visa) are not eligible for ESL or other adult education courses.

New Students

All new students wishing to enroll in our free classes are required to complete paperwork and take a written test to determine program eligibility and level. Please call 618-222-5363 to schedule your pre-registration and testing session.

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For pre-registration or more information, call or email:

618-235-2700, ext. 5363
Toll-free in Illinois 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5363

For the purpose of compliance with Section 511 of Public Law 101-166 (the Steven’s Amendment), approximately 33.75% ($394,285.00) federal funds were used to support Adult Education Programs.